Nearly 400 years to the day since the publication of William Shakespeare’s First Folio, Year 8 gave a brilliant performance of his famous play The Tempest to a packed house at Panton Hall. As Mrs Burden noted, this is Shakespeare’s most musical play and in keeping with the playwright, who used popular songs of his day, the Year 8 pupils used songs by Madonna, Taylor Swift, Stormzy and Nat King Cole in this production, adapted to beautifully help tell the story.
Prospero, the true Duke of Milan, has been overthrown in a conspiracy and set adrift to die but instead came ashore on a magical island. In the play we see what happens when he is faced with the choice to exact revenge or forgive his enemies. The pupils not only learned the difficult dialogue impeccably well—an impressive feat on its own—but did so with expressive and perceptive acting, captivating musical performances, including stunning solos, and production elements that kept even the children in the audience entertained. There were so many brilliant moments, from hilarious scenes between the very tipsy Trinculo and Stefano with the crocodile-like beast Caliban to a very moving adaptation of Stormzy’s gospel song ‘Blinded by Your Grace’ which underpinned the idea of the beauty and power of forgiveness, and many more in between.
Congratulations to Year 8 for this tremendous conclusion to their weeks of hard work, to Mrs Burden whose exuberant direction inspired each of the pupils to give their best performances, to Mrs Lowe for her beautiful musical direction, and Miss Innes for the wonderful lighting that helped the stage come alive.