Students at the Duchess’s High School, Alnwick, are toiling hard on their latest production, the classic French comedy Cyrano de Bergerac.
The play, which will open with a bang on Bonfire Night and run for three performances, is about the attempted love conquest of the famous soldier-come-poet with the rather large proboscis.
But it is not just the thespians who have their noses to the grindstone at rehearsals every night during the week and all day Sundays, backstage and front of house there is much creative activity as well.
The set is being painted, posters and programmes produced, lighting and sound coordinated – and all this by the students themselves.
I was allowed access to the rehearsals and was extremely impressed, although not at all surprised judging by previous productions, by the high quality of acting and singing.
A quite spectacular original score, which has echoes of Les Miserables and wouldn’t be out of place in a West End musical, has been written by sixth-former Amber Brown. Judge for yourself in this video clip of a beautiful, haunting number sung by Hannah Lamb, Jess Field, Tyler Angus and co.
Head of English and production director Martin Allenby said: “We have some excellent students in the cast this year but also backstage and in the sound and lighting team. When you come and see one of our productions, one of the great things that we pride ourselves on is the production is fully student-led on the evenings.”
Cyrano de Bergerac is at Alnwick Playhouse, November 5-7, 7.30pm, tickets £8, conc £7, child/student £6. Contact the Playhouse box office on 01665 510785 or online at alnwickplayhouse.co.uk.
More from my interview with Mr Allenby will appear in next week’s Gazette, followed by a video on this website.