Blyth pupils wow 1,000-strong audience with Phantom of the Opera show

Students from Blyth's Bede Academy entertained an audience of more than 1,000 with their Christmas production of musical Phantom of the Opera

Imogen Forsythe as Carlotta Giudicelli in Bede Academy's production of Phantom of the Opera
Imogen Forsythe as Carlotta Giudicelli in Bede Academy's production of Phantom of the Opera

Students pulled out all the stops to stage Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic musical the Phantom of the Opera as their Christmas show.

More than 1,000 people from Blyth, Northumberland, turned out to see the Bede Academy pupils in their academy’s most ambitious production to date.

Around 100 students from different year groups put on four sell-out shows. As well as actors, singers and dancers, behind-the-scenes roles called for help with tasks from design and prop construction to hair and make-up, costume and sound and lighting.

Director Patrick Turnham said: “Producing Phantom of the Opera in a school is a massive undertaking and, not surprisingly, it is not often attempted by amateurs. Our production involved more staff and students than any previous show at Bede.

“Make-up included the making of the Phantom’s latex scars and disfigured face, while prop construction included a chandelier, organ, a magic chair and a two-way mirror.”

Dancers in Bede Academy's production of Phantom of the Opera
Dancers in Bede Academy's production of Phantom of the Opera
 

The main parts were taken by Ashleigh Charlton as Christine Daae, Jay Routledge as The Phantom, Dan Johnson as Raoul, Vicomte de Chagny, Imogen Forsythe as Carlotta Giudicelli, Heather Craddock as Madame Giry, Courtney Foster as Meg Giry, Tom Johnson as Monsieur Richard Firmin, Oliver Baron as Monsieur Gilles André and Jay Robinson as Ubaldo Piangi.

Students rehearsed before, during and after the school day, as well as over many weekends before the four-night run. Director of music Helen Kerr worked with the whole cast and also individually with the principals to help them cope with the physical demands of technically challenging parts.

Principal Gwyneth Evans said: “This was the first time we have performed across four evenings, included a Saturday. Over 1,000 people attended and we have since received some incredible comments from people in the audience. I know many local residents come to our shows, whether they have children at the academy or not, because they know the standard will be extremely high.

“The commitment of all the staff and students involved was immense. It was very clear that if we were going to be so ambitious as to put on Phantom then we had to do it well. Everyone involved surpassed all expectations with their remarkable professionalism and dedication.”

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