The old school hall at Thorp Academy was the keeper of many memories for my peers and me, so it was sad to see it tumble down during the summer. However I was fortunate enough to see and hear a couple of Academy productions within its walls before its eventual demise. The new hall will be up and running next year, but in the meantime Thorp are honouring their commitment to entertain and serve our community, and provide us with some autumn evening cheer. Last night the recently opened STEM building served as a temporary theatre, and I went along to see A Ticket To Broadway.
We had twenty-six songs from different musicals performed by students from Year 7 (who have only been in the academy for eight weeks) right up to the sixth form. I’d like to tell you what the songs are, but I’m conscious that there’s still another performance to be staged, and Thorp are running a competition where the audience are invited to guess the names of the musicals from which the songs originate. I don’t know what the prize is – but I’m not giving you a helping hand just in case it’s a Mediterranean cruise and I’m line for it. I will tell you however, that a Monty Python sketch created a diverse and pleasant surprise. Great acting and superb comic timing, which caused me to seek out the head of drama, Mrs Shaller, at the end of the show and urge her to enter her young actors into one of the drama categories of Ryton Music Festival.
In my Ryton Comp. days, the plays of 1972/73/74 were for doting parents and bored siblings. I was in two of them, but my father only attended one, declaring that one was enough. Everything has changed during the intervening years, drama begain to be taken seriously soon after I left, and marvellous productions have been staged ever since. There were many siblings in the audience last night, but not a reluctant one in sight. This is a show for all the community and we had a full house. I’m hoping that the new hall has been designed with the success of these performances in mind, and that greater capacity is planned.
Another huge well done to the students of Thorp Academy and their dedicated teachers. Some of these young people may go on to have careers in the performing arts, others may not. But all of them will remember these great evenings for the rest of their lives, and almost all of them, will be back here one day to watch their own children perform. Thank you so much.