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Students go potty for Disney classic

Young actors have undergone a transformation to tell a tale as old as time.

beauty-and-the-beastStudents at The King’s Academy, in Coulby Newham, are taking on roles as a beast, a teapot and a candlestick as they prepare to stage a Disney classic.

Beauty and the Beast Jr was cast before the summer holidays and students have been working since then to learn lines and songs ready for a three-night run next month.

Lewis Melvin, 18, of Hemlington, secured the lead role of the Beast, which he is combining with A Levels in chemistry, biology, psychology and politics.

He said:

It’s all about good time management, making sure I use my free lessons to study and work at home so I can fit in rehearsals.”

The demanding role also requires Lewis to wear a mask over his face.

The hair comes in two pieces that fit together and the mask is tight but I’ve got used to it,” he said.

Coleena Collins, 15, of Coulby Newham, was cast as Belle after auditions were held at the academy.

It’s probably my last year at The King’s so I thought I should try and make it count,” she said.

The other students in principal roles are Rhys Williams as Gaston, Kirsty Gosnay as Mrs Potts, Tom Sutton as Lumiere, Rhys Lewis as Cogsworth and Ryan Clark as Maurice.

Director and head of drama Eddie Jones said:

We enjoyed doing Annie Jnr last year, it was a manageable show and the right length. Beauty and the Beast is a classic and has a lot of characters, especially for boys. As we’re seeing more boys coming through and wanting to perform it’s important to offer something for them as well as the girls.

“We’re seeing new faces every year and since September there’s been a lot of interest from our new Year 7 as well. The main roles were cast before they started at The King’s but they have joined the chorus and their interest bodes well for future productions.”

Teacher of drama and dance Danielle Dodsworth has arranged the choreography and the musical director is music teacher Eleanor Walker.

The cast will be rehearsing during the half term holiday and every evening before the show gets underway with a British Sign Language interpreted performance on November 9 at 6pm, followed by two 7pm performances on November 10 and 11.

Tickets are available from the academy in Stainton Way, Coulby Newham, or by calling 01642 577577.

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Early A level girl receives Outstanding Student award

A student who passed her A Levels two years early has been recognised for her exceptional performance at an academy’s prize-giving.

Holly Grob was awarded the prestigious Outstanding Student of the Year accolade at The King’s Academy, in Coulby Newham, after achieving straight A* grades in biology, chemistry and mathematics aged just 16.

Although she left the academy in the summer, Holly and other alumni were invited back to the annual presentation, held, for the first time, at the start of the new academic year.

Principal David Dawes said:

Changing the time of our prize-giving to September means students who have just finished their GCSEs and A Levels can come back to join us before they start university and college courses.

“It also means our brand new Year 7 can hear about the achievements and activities of the year before and everyone can feel motivated to emulate the success we’re celebrating.”

Mr Dawes added:

It’s been a truly amazing year, with our best results ever, but also a tough year in many ways. Prize-giving brings everyone together as we look forward to another year.”

Now 17, Holly is currently taking tests to study medicine at university and is aiming to start a course at Cambridge University, Imperial College London, Newcastle or Glasgow University next year after completing voluntary work in Mexico.

Holly, who grew up in South Africa before arriving in Coulby Newham, in January last year, said:

The Outstanding Student prize usually goes to someone younger so it was a complete surprise.”

Dr Taing Saing San, or Dr Sasa as he is known, founder of the Burma-based charity Health and Hope, was the special guest, joining the prize-giving on the day before he was due to meet with the Prince of Wales, in Scotland.

I will tell him it was an honour to be with the students of The King’s Academy. I will be very proud to say students from here helped the students in Burma,” he said.

Dr SasaThe presentation recognised students for academic achievement, progress, merits and contribution to their house. The most promising student in each subject was recognised and there were special awards including the Chairman’s Award of Special Recognition which went to the unbeaten Year 9 football team.

The Alix Ritchie Award for Courage went to Jack Sidgwick, and Medes won the House Cup.

Members of the cast of last year’s production of Annie performed, and there was a preview to this year’s musical, Beauty and the Beast, which is being staged at the academy next month.