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Shakespeare Schools Festival

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At the end of last term, students from years 11 – 13 at Loughborough High School and Loughborough Grammar School came together to perform a 30 minute abridged version of Romeo and Juliet at the Curve, as part of Shakespeare Schools Festival.

All students gave an astounding and memorable performance and should be extremely proud of their achievements. The cast were complimented by the Stage Director on the night, Martin Leonard, on their outstanding delivery of Shakespearean text, the creativity in the staging of the piece and the ensembles use of stylised movement to highlight key themes within the play.

Mr Leonard said that the cast had worked really effectively together as an ensemble in order to create the world of Verona and to tell this story. He highlighted how much he liked the choreography of the party scene, and the way in which the cast used varying tempos and movement in order to highlight certain story beats: when Romeo and Juliet bumped into each other for the first time, the entire cast swivelled round in slow motion, in order to focus the audience on the moment itself. He declared it a very clever, creative and inventive technique!

He liked how the production was visually striking (the two families wore either black or white) and this aesthetic was broken up through the use of stark red poles. These served as both actual props (weapons carried by members of each faction etc) and also to create scenery and set detail. Indeed the company devised a series of arresting images in order to differentiate between locations (markets, churches, the famous balcony) using their own physicality and the pole props.

Mr Leonard said of the actors that they had a good understanding of the emotional stakes at play for each character and performed their parts with impressive conviction. Whether portraying the evident hatred members of the two houses had for each other, shock at the death of Mercutio and Tybalt or grief and sadness over Romeo and Juliet’s eventual demise, the performers were engaging throughout. The cast’s knowledge of stagecraft was also evident through the way they used the entire stage space. They spoke the Shakespearean dialogue with good clarity and volume.

He went on to say that performing Shakespeare’s words on a professional stage takes courage, resilience, and imagination and this was a bold and dynamic production of Romeo and Juliet, performed by an imaginative and skilful cast. High praise indeed!

They also received some lovely feedback from audience members who found the use of props to create environments on stage to be visually stunning and whom were impressed with the mature performances given by our students.

Stand-out character performances include the nuanced portrayal of Juliet, the commanding Tybalt, an emotional Lady Capulet and a playful Nurse. The chorus performed excellently working together to create various environments on stage and playing multiple characters. Well done to all of the students that took part.

Take a look at the gallery for stunning photographs of the performance (courtesy of Splaat Media).

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