For September 2020 entry
Felsted Performs Beauty and the Beast
By Melanie Donaldson, Director of Performing Arts
During the second week of November in 2019, 68 actors, 38 crew (lighting, sound, stage management, costume, hair & make up) and 6 musicians together with a number of teachers and professional experts staged 6 performances of Felsted’s Senior School production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’.
This alone is a staggering achievement, however, when we also consider that there were 2 and a half casts and that pupils were combining the show with their academic lessons, sporting, music and prep commitments too, it is extraordinary.
I would like to pay tribute to all involved and say a big thank you for a breath-taking, high quality production and for the amazing camaraderie of all that participated.
The standard of the show was phenomenal and we could not be more proud of all those who took part; many audience members expressed their delight:
Highlights for me included the joy on the face of the chorus, the ingenious humour, the moving solos from both Beauty and the Beast and I must admit I enjoyed the interplay of the characters in the castle.
I went to see the play last night, it was absolutely brilliant! All so confident in their roles, the orchestra were amazing, the scenery absolutely stunning and the attention to detail throughout was so professional. So lovely to see such incredible talent both on stage and clearly happening behind the scenes. A great fun evening!
- Chiara - Stage Management
- Thomas - Lighting
- Shesh - Orchestra
- Katie - Hair & make up
- Edoardo - Actor
The last two weeks have been really intense for me due to rehearsals for ‘Beauty and the Beast’. I was in stage management; I had to set the stage and to take things on and off stage. There were 8 of us helping in the backstage wings; 4 on each side and we had headphones and mics to communicate with each other and the whole crew.
This experience made me realise how much work there is behind a play, not only for the actors and actresses but also for people in stage management, orchestra, lights, makeup, and hair. Being behind the scenes makes you almost feel all the emotions that people usually have before going on the stage. I made new friends and I had a really great time offstage singing and dancing the big numbers with those on stage.
This has been my second time in a school production doing lighting and I can honestly say that working on ‘Beauty and the Beast’ has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my life. People can nag about Sunday rehearsals and late finishes, but during that time it’s great to chat to friends whilst working. Moreover, with a cheerful, energetic and extremely talented cast, I felt as if I were truly in the West End when watching the performances.
On ‘Beauty and the Beast’ I worked on a follow spot - the job of spotlighting - for me this was a new experience and at first quite daunting but with the astounding Dylan Law (Year 13) by my side I felt assured and ready to tackle this head on. At the commencement of our rehearsals I would take notes, watch and listen as the show started to come together. Later, closer to the performances of the productions, my job consisted of using a powerful light to spotlight leads mostly in the big numbers. Although, it started off shaky and looking appalling to say the least, by the performances I was happy with the use and ready to ‘shine’.
In my mind though doing the lighting wasn’t all that this was about, as along the several week journey I made new friends who I now consider to be quite close to me. It was great to meet a huge diversity of people and see everyone so happy to volunteer for this. I have to say the highlight of the whole production has to be the singing in the intervals. My friends and I would walk into the green room to hear songs ranging from a Queen medley to 80s and even songs from house shout. Overall, truly AMAZING! A big thanks to the cast and especially the teachers!
Being involved with ‘Beauty and the Beast’ has been an unforgettable experience.
I was part of the orchestra, playing the double bass and it was an honour being surrounded by all those amazing musicians, supporting the outstanding casts. The orchestra only had one run through, prior to the first dress rehearsal, but under the guidance of Mr Warns this wasn’t a problem and we went straight in.
Although you couldn’t see us, we felt very much part of the production, everyone was very supportive of one another and we were honoured when Mrs Donaldson asked us to join the cast on stage at the end of two of the shows. It was such a buzz performing every day, sometimes two shows a day and I cannot wait for the next time.
This was my first time doing the make up for the play and being part of the team. I learnt a lot about how an actor/actress has to be prepared before going on stage and how different and bold the makeup must be compared to everyday. We were given a couple of trial sessions before the play began to get a general idea of what we should be focused on when doing the actors' makeup.
With a fairly small team it is fair to say we were very pushed for time on numerous occasions during show week however as the week went on we managed to handle the time we had in order to make sure everyone has been seen by at least one of us. The characters I was mostly focused on during the week were: Belle, Gaston, Lumiere, Babette and many of the villagers/dancers.
I also loved contributing styling the silly girls hair which I was responsible for each night. Throughout this experience I felt I was constantly progressing and finding the task easier with each day as I’m sure most of the other girls would agree with. I also found myself getting to know a lot more of the cast and crew and comparing our experiences of taking part in the play. I thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the play and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking to take part next year and further on in the future and am grateful to have taken part in this production.
This was the first time I’ve ever experienced acting, singing and working with different people in rehearsals, with a script in my hands, trying to interpret and transform into a character.
At the beginning of the rehearsals, as an international full time boarder, I thought that the musical was a way to spend my time and I did not take it seriously, however, as time passed I began to understand how beautiful acting and singing is. All the hours that we have spent working on the songs has been amazing; every time I’ve felt a new emotion. During the last two months I’ve discovered a new part of myself as a singer and an actor. Working with people that are doing what they love to do such as Mrs Donaldson, Mr Mann, Mrs Macey and Mrs Clarke is marvellous and if I could travel back through time and decide whether to participate or not again, I would definitely choose to be in it.
The week before the show, I was feeling very anxious, it was my first time on a set, acting and singing in front of many people; but I had a sense of security given to me by all the work that has been done before and by knowing all of my lines and movements.
In the end, I would urge anyone who has not been in a show to try it; it is joyful, appreciable and pleasant working together with teachers and students to have a great production to share with the School.
Making a choice, living under a curse, beastly suffering & loving sacrifice, rescued by beauty, paradise restored & a happy ever after! The deep resonance of our stories speak of a true desire to ‘be human again’ Congratulations all @felstedtheatre @FelstedSchool @felstedmusic pic.twitter.com/dxL04hryox— Felsted Chapel (@opendoor4u) November 16, 2019