Rainford High takes on The Tempest at Floral Pavilion Theatre

Students at Rainford High in St Helens recently had the exciting opportunity to participate in the Coram Shakespeare Schools Foundation‘s Theatre Festival.  

Each year, the festival invites young people from different schools across the UK to perform a Shakespeare play on stage in professional theatres in front of a large audience. Alongside staff members, pupils work with professional actors and directors to prepare the production. 

Rainford High was selected to perform The Tempest at the Floral Pavilion Theatre in New Brighton. 

A story of power, family, betrayal and forgiveness, The Tempest is about a magician, Prospero, who uses magic to conjure a storm in order to shipwreck those who betrayed him. It follows a variety of characters and also includes a range of music. 

There was a real sense of community from the beginning of rehearsals and up to show day, as the twenty-four cast members across Years 8 and 9 worked together to support and encourage one another, preparing the best production possible. 

Shakespeare’s classic play was met with a modern twist as students included the song ‘Prisoner’ by Miley Cyrus, a company movement sequence to Ed Sheeran’s ‘Thinking Out Loud’, and a human built ship and storm. 

Audience members were thrilled with Rainford High’s performance, highly enjoying their interpretation of the story and applauding pupils’ performing skills. 

Emma Harrison in Year 9, who played Prospero, said: “It was really nice to do something we don’t get to do every day, and I really enjoyed getting to play a character you wouldn’t get to be in everyday life. It was amazing to perform in a big theatre and I loved it!” 

Teacher-directors for the performance, Miss Hett and Mrs Abbott, commented: “We are so proud of all the students involved, they worked so hard. 

“We are very lucky as a performing arts team that we were able to work with such an incredibly talented cast who contributed ideas within rehearsals as well as doing so well to learn and remember all their lines in Shakespearean text! 

“The company came together with a real sense of enthusiasm, passion and focus that met every strand of our school ethos.” 

The Rainford High cast on stage

All staff and students had a fantastic time working on The Tempest and felt proud to expose the younger generation to the influential work of William Shakespeare in a relatable, fun, and engaging way, whilst also embedding their love for the performing arts. 

At Rainford High, the performing arts department seeks to foster all students’ creativity and cultural awareness and enable them to explore these in a wide variety of practical ways. 

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