Performing arts students at LVS Ascot are celebrating after their innovative promenade production of Alice In Wonderland – a first for the school – was hailed a great success by audiences who were swept along on a journey of discovery around the school grounds by two talented casts this weekend.
From Thursday 19 to Saturday 21 January, students led twelve sell-out audiences of thirty around a series of scenes which immersed them in a trip around other areas of the school besides the theatre, such as the drama studio and The Street, the school’s atmospheric outdoor area which was transformed into The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. It was a very different challenge from the usual pressures of performing to audiences of up to 300 at a time in the independent all-ability school’s theatre, and demonstrated the school’s commitment to providing a refreshing approach to education and inspiring students with new experiences.
Thirty young actors from the senior school and sixth form split into two casts to lead their delighted audiences around a set which gave them the full interactive experience of participating in Lewis Carroll’s famous tale, including being guests at the Tea Party and answering questions from the characters as they made their way around sections of the school’s 25-acre grounds.
Alice Newlands, 17, was one of two students at the school to play the title role in the Alice In Wonderland production and was thrilled to have the opportunity to take part in such an innovative play. She said: “I have been involved in the other school shows such as Grease and Fame, but this is the first time I have ever had the chance to star in a promenade production where the audience follows us around and we get to interact with them. I told my friends at a dance school I go to about it and they were amazed at what we were attempting as it is such an unusual and bold thing for a school to take on. I have really enjoyed the experience and being given the freedom to be creative with my character, which we all had the opportunity to do”.
Harry Walters, 16, played the White Rabbit and his family were delighted to see him stretched in such a rewarding role. His mother Nicola Kellock said: We are immensely proud of Harry and it was amazing to be right in the middle of the show as an audience member, it really brought a different dimension to it”. Stepfather Chris Kellock added: “The school is really building on Harry’s strengths and it is great to see him progress. His character has grown as his needs and interests have been developed here, which they seem to be whatever the pupils’ talents are”.
The show is a second success in consecutive months for the school’s drama department after December’s Oliver! production in which children as young as nine took to the stage in the first ever through-school show combining junior and senior school pupils. Head of Drama Georgina Windsor, who adapted Alice In Wonderland for the latest production, said: “This was the perfect way to challenge and expand the considerable talents of our drama students and give them a new experience which will be invaluable in their acting futures. They were wonderful and brought the show to life beautifully”.
Musicians from around Berkshire and beyond are also being given the opportunity to show off their skills on stage at the LVS Ascot Music Festival on 4th and 5th February. More information can be found at www.lvs.ascot.sch.uk/musicfestival