Saint Benedict students have won a once in a lifetime opportunity to sing on the same stage as West End stars, in front of a 2,000 strong audience at a European theatre festival.
Thirty-eight pupils will perform a song from Frozen at Music Theatre International’s Junior Theatre festival, Europe’s biggest celebration of musical theatre for young performers.
Hundreds of youth groups and schools from across the country submitted applications to be in with a chance to perform at the festival and take part in workshops with West End professionals, as part of a programme backed by Disney.
News of our students’ success was shared on social media and prompted a kind-hearted donation of costumes for the performance, all the way from America.
Mrs West, Director of Performing and Creative Arts at Saint Benedict, said she burst out crying when she found out that her students would be performing at the festival.
She said: “I couldn’t speak I was so choked. I was just thinking about how this will mean so much for our children and it will enable them to see what opportunities there are for them in the arts, and what can happen if you believe you can do something.
“This is a once in a lifetime event for them, how often will they get to perform on the same stage as West End performers in front of 2,000 people.
“I tweeted a video of the students’ reaction when I told them the news and then a few days later I got an email from a lady in America whose theatre group had already performed Frozen. She has all the costumes and has offered to ship and lend them to us for free, which is wonderful.”
The festival takes place at the ICC in Birmingham on Saturday, April 29th and our students will take to the stage in the afternoon, followed by two performances from West End stars.
Mrs West said: “We are taking students from Years 7 to 12. In the morning they will do some work with other youth groups at the festival and in the afternoon they will take part in dance, drama and music workshops with West End professionals. Then they will do some tech on the main stage, followed by their performance.”
Students will sing the song ‘Fixer Upper’ on stage, a song from Frozen that they submitted as part of their application to perform at the festival.
Ryan Macauley, producer and director of the MIT Junior Theatre Festival, paid a visit to Saint Benedict to help students prepare for their performance.
He said: “Saint Benedict was chosen to perform at the festival because the application from the staff there was exemplary and the children are all ages and from all backgrounds and they are doing it together. We really saw that in the application and they deserved the chance to perform. We will have workshops from Aladdin, Les Mis and Wicked and there will be West End directors and choreographers.”
Student Lucy Finnegan, who is playing Anna, said working with Ryan had been a great experience.
She said: “We were all so excited when we found out that we were going to perform at the festival and to work with someone like Ryan has been amazing. We wouldn’t normally get the chance to go through our performance in so much detail.”
Mrs Boyce said: “This is another fantastic achievement for the Performing and Creative Arts Team. At Saint Benedict, we recognise the positive impact the Arts have on young people and we are incredibly proud of our pupils and staff who have won this competition.”
The students will be performing Frozen as our school show at Saint Benedict, in Duffield Road, Derby, from 1st to 5th July 2023. Information about tickets will be released soon. Please keep checking our websit efor more details.