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Mary Poppins

YOUNG performers are flying as high as a kite as final preparations get under way for their annual musical.

Students from Years 7-13 at The King’s Academy, Coulby Newham, are set to stage the popular P. L. Travers-Disney musical Mary Poppins.

The curtain will rise on the Sherman Brothers spectacular, adapted for stage by Cameron Mackintosh, for a three-night run starting on Wednesday 20 November. Tickets are available from the academy reception.

Auditions last term saw principal parts being secured by Rachel Geddes, 14, as Mary Poppins; Ryan Clark, 17, as Bert; Rhys Lewis, 17, as George Banks; Eloise Plantaz, 14, as Jane Banks; Olivia Clark, 12, as Michael Banks; Alicia Glasgow, 16, as Winifred Banks.

A cast of 35 is also being supported by students working backstage on the set, sound and lighting.

After spending the holidays learning their lines, rehearsals began in earnest in September with the production coming together under the guidance of director Mr Eddie Jones, choreographer Miss Vicky Coggon, musical director Mrs Kate Dickinson and costume producer Mrs Carey Brownless.

Head of Drama Mr Jones said:

The musical represents a change of pace for us with not only lines to learn but songs and choreography. The students have done a great job and we can’t wait for the curtain to go up.”

Ryan said:

It is a really big show and definitely the best I have ever been involved in. I’ve loved the rehearsals.”

Alicia, winner of the academy Drama Bowl at the annual prizegiving, said:

It has been such good fun rehearsing and we are all very excited about the show going on.”

Rhys Lewis added:

It has been really challenging, especially the dancing and perfecting the accents. But we have loved it.”

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Tees sixth formers get expert help to impress at interview

SIXTH formers have been honing their winning ways after being given advice on how to bring together all they have learned to impress at interview.

Facilitators from the Transformation Trust spent the day working with Sixth Form students at The King’s Academy, Coulby Newham.

Fallon Dunleavy and Ben Darrah shared the benefit of years of experience on either side of the interview desk as the students considered their futures in The Barclays LifeSkills workshops delivered by the Transformation Trust, an independent education charity which seeks to level the playing field by offering fully-funded employability initiatives in schools across the UK.

Sixth formers were encouraged to draw on the many character-building opportunities they have had during their time at The King’s Academy to identify their attributes and think about how they could be transferred to the world of work or further study.

Fallon, who also works for Durham County Council, said:

The Barclays LifeSkills workshops are designed to help students be the very best they can be.

“The Transformation Trust works with many top companies in a variety of sectors who have given us feedback on the skills they feel young people are lacking. We pass on tips with interview techniques to build their confidence and skillset.”

The students also received help with preparing answers to common interview questions, filling in applications, including the importance of accuracy, and with research and preparation in the days leading up to interview.

Ben, who also runs Newcastle app company Product, advised:

Find out about the job and the company and try to get what you have learned into any conversation. They will be looking for someone who exhibits passion, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.”

Fallon added:

Start thinking about what skills you can bring to the job. Plan your journey, plan your outfit and personal presentation and get a good night’s sleep beforehand. If you plan ahead you can relax more on the day.”

Sixth former Emma Saunders, 17, said:

The workshops were really good and have boosted my confidence and changed the way I think about interviews.”

Head of Sixth Form at The King’s Academy, Jenni Yuill, added:

Some young people simply don’t recognise the skills they have developed so far and these sessions are a great way for them to appreciate what they have to offer.

“Their learning is current and up to date and their IT skills are second to none because technology is something they all feel passionately about.

“They have developed teamwork and leadership skills through sport, our Cadet Force, house and prefect systems. Students’ communications skills are encouraged throughout their schooling so they are confident when speaking to others or making presentations.

“Our students really do have an incredible amount to offer which is being recognised by higher education establishments and employers.”

  • The Sixth Form Centre is opening its doors on Wednesday, November 6 from 5.30pm-7.30pm for prospective students and their families to discover more about The King’s Academy’s unique approach to learning. For more information, tel: 01642 577577.