‘For the first time in forever…’ there was music, there was light! Inspired by the West End, in the summer of 2023, Gateacre School’s Drama, Music and Design technology departments worked together to stage ‘Frozen – The Musical’.
Not only did the production incorporate a cast of 39 students, a band composing of 13 singers and musicians and a backstage crew and front of house team of 24, we also invited 3 of our local primary schools to become our on-stage choir as part of the production. In total, over 200 students ranging from Year 3 to Year 12 were involved.
Gateacre students worked tirelessly in rehearsals to follow direction, practice their singing and learn choreography. For some, it was their first ever time performing! There was a real team spirit, with older students mentoring younger ones and students managing all backstage elements including props, costume, make up, set, lighting and sound. We also had an incredible team working front of house and making and selling merchandise. At every stage, the students worked in the professional manner of a real theatre company.
The musicians, from Years 8, 10 and 12, rehearsed at lunch-times and stayed late after school to practice. The music was often demanding to play, but our musicians rose to the challenge and were extremely professional in both rehearsal and performance.
The primary schools rehearsed weekly for 4 months before visiting Gateacre to collaborate and rehearse with the full band and cast, followed by a public evening performance with sell out audiences of 200+. The choirs came from Rudston primary, Belle Vale primary and Woolton primary, each with staff who used to attend Gateacre School; a cross generational approach, which made the production feel very special indeed.
It was a really valuable experience for Gateacre students to work with the primary school children and vice versa. For the primary school children, it was so positive to not only participate in the production but also to watch the older children and aspire to take on similar roles in the future when they join our school.
Having a regular creative outlet is not just part of a well-rounded education – it is essential for a child’s emotional health and well-being. Producing a show brings the arts together and provides growth opportunities for all varieties of learners. For example, kinaesthetic learners engage their bodies through dance, linguistic learners dive into the written and spoken word, spatial learners tackle set and costume design, and musical learners revel in the show’s score.
We truly feel that not only have the students benefitted from the entire experience but they have given our local community an affordable, accessible and most enjoyable opportunity to watch their work.