This is the first time we have moved our annual show away from July to March and the recent weather certainly made it an eventful experience for us all, the “Beast from the East” causing a week’s postponement!  In another first, we were delighted that our entire cast of performers, musicians, stage and technical crew consisted entirely of staff, current and past students of Heworth Grange.

School of Rock the Musical, with music from the legendary Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Glenn Slater, and book by Julian Fellowes is based on the 2003 movie starring Jack Black. The show features 14 new songs from Andrew Lloyd Webber and all the original songs from the movie. The story follows Dewey Finn, a wannabe musician who poses as a substitute teacher at a fancy prep school. The fun begins when it’s clear that the only lesson he’s interested in teaching his students is how to rock!

This show brings with it many challenges, not least of which is the on-stage band formed by Dewey Finn and his class of students. This means not only having to technically manage two completely live rock bands, but also have a multi-talented cast who can act, sing and play instruments live on stage. When we decided to tackle this large and complex show we did it knowing that the wealth of talent we have in the school would allow us to perform it as Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber intended. Our cast was drawn from across the entire school from Years 7 to 13, who have been rehearsing since September last year. Their commitment and good humour made the process a hugely enjoyable one for us all and we are enormously proud of every one of them.

We are in the fortunate position at Heworth to have a large and thriving Performing Arts department supported by both the leadership in our school and also by Consilium – the academy trust Heworth recently joined – who also have a strong belief in the value of the arts for students. The number of students involved in our shows this week and in our arts programmes demonstrates that, despite the recent Government trend of devaluing the arts in measuring the academic progress of a school, performance and creativity remains a vital and valuable experience for our young people.

Some of the comments from our audience we received by email after the performance:

“Everyone involved both on and off stage was an absolute credit to your school.”

“We do not have any children at your school, but we really wanted to let you know how good we thought all of your pupils and staff were tonight.”

 “Just wanted to say a huge well done to everyone involved in last nights production of School of Rock – wow I was totally blown away by the performance from start to finish. The acting, singing and live band in the music pit were just fabulous.  Even the pupils and staff working in the foyer were a pleasure and very polite – a credit to the school no doubt.”

“My daughter has raved about wanting to attend Heworth to participate in the performing arts held at the school and thankfully she has been accepted to start there in September 2018 and after last nights performance I know 100% I made the right choice of secondary education.”