Students give a new twist to a classic adventure

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FOUR Morpeth high school students are involved in a modern re-telling of a classic tale that has been created entirely by young people.

Last summer, a group of 15 to 18-year-olds who attend the Stagecoach Further Stages sessions in Newcastle, decided to embark on a challenge of producing, directing and starring in their own show.

After their idea to bring a new edge to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland story was approved by staff, they have put in many hours of their own time to put the play together.

This production is set in a psychiatric hospital, although Alice still encounters famous characters such as the Cheshire Cat and Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

Laura Brown, who lives in Stannington, was cast in the lead role and she is looking forward to showcasing her drama and ballet skills at Northern Stage in Newcastle city centre for the first time.

“They cast who they thought would be best for each role and I was extremely excited to be given the part of Alice,” she said.

“I’ve really enjoyed being involved in creating the show as all the actors, writers and producers were able to contribute their thoughts for each scene and many of them were taken on board by the director.

“It has been a challenge to learn all my lines and moves, but hopefully it will be all worth it on the day.”

The 15-year-old has been going to classes at Stagecoach since she was five and has performed at the Theatre Royal, Sunderland Empire and Whitley Bay Playhouse, including the role of Martha Cratchit in its production of Scrooge.

She said: “The teachers at Stagecoach have been absolutely amazing with me over the years and I really enjoy the classes.

“Once I have done my A-Levels, I would love to get a place at a big performing arts college in London.”

Fellow King Edward VI School student Lauren Caisley is playing the role of the older Alice and two pupils are part of the 12-piece band that will play an original score – Dean Clark (clarinet) and Jonny Roxburgh (drums).

The challenge of writing the script was taken on by Phoebe Elliot from Central High School in Newcastle and director Aoife Kennan has brought her vision to the stage.

Musical Director and Assistant Producer Thomas Edney said: “We’re all feeling a mixture of excitement and nerves and we really hope it goes well because it has been a big commitment for everyone involved.”

“The chemistry between Laura and Lauren created a new and diverse approach to the story, which was needed to do the script full justice.”

The play will be performed at 2.30pm and 7pm on Saturday.

For tickets telephone 0191 2305151 or visit www.northernstage.co.uk/whats-on