Audiences were treated to an enchanted trip down the rabbit hole during Trinity term as the Lower School production of Alice in Wonderland took over Yolande Paterson Hall. Susie (8L), who played one of the three Alices on stage, and assistant director Amelia (L6A) recount their experience of being part of this Lewis Carroll classic tale.
The Lower School production this year was an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland by Brainerd Duffield. I played Alice alongside Elsa and Nikita, and it was so much fun!
We started rehearsals in October and the play was performed from 15–17 June – first, to a matinée performance of local primary schools, and then two evening performances for our friends and family.
The play was about a young girl called Alice who falls asleep and dreams of falling down a rabbit hole and meeting many crazy and wonderful characters such as the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter, the Cheshire Cat and many more.
I really enjoyed rehearsals because it wasn’t just us being told exactly what to do, instead we had real input and ideas for the play. One major example of this was in the Red Queen’s scene when the poet ensemble performed the Jabberwocky. During rehearsals, they came up with nearly the whole idea for how they would perform it and, in the end, it was amazing!
I also really enjoyed the performances because it was really fun watching each other on a big screen backstage that linked to YPH. When people came back in from doing their scene, we would all congratulate them, and it was generally just a really nice atmosphere. Overall, doing the play was an amazing experience and I would definitely do it again!
My role in the production of Alice and Wonderland was assistant director and stage manager. I thoroughly enjoyed taking on these roles as it allowed for both my creative and my methodical side to be engaged.
I truly loved aiding Mrs Jewitt’s wonderful directing by offering some of my own creative takes on the story, whilst also helping to organise backstage – ensuring both the set and the actors were on stage at the right times.
My highlight moment would have to be getting to watch the play for the first time as I saw all the skills I had gained (organisation, teamwork, and creativity) right in front of me. I think, consequently, the final performance really shone a light on the beauty of the School’s productions in allowing every member, whether backstage or on stage, to feel appreciated for what they’ve helped to create.
Creative arts partnership
It was a pleasure to invite over 220 pupils from three local schools, including Larkmead, Sunningwell and Thameside for the Lower School matinée performance of Alice in Wonderland. For many children this was their first experience of attending live theatre with the bonus of music played by St Helen’s musicians.
There was a terrific atmosphere in YPH throughout the play, and the audience showed their appreciation at the end quite spontaneously. Teachers from Larkmead wrote to us after the play, saying:
"The students really enjoyed the matinée performance, some thought the Cheshire Cat was quite scary, they talked about the humour in the production and liked the idea of the three different Alices. This has been a great experience for them!"
"Our Year 7 students were in awe of the talented young people on stage and it has given them inspiration for our Creative Arts Day next week. Congratulations to all the performers, musicians and staff involved."
Ms McDonald, Creative Arts Partnerships Coordinator
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