There was excitement in the air as students from Harrogate Grammar School took to the stage to perform School of Rock. Talented students from all years made up the cast, crew and band to bring the much-loved musical to life over three sell-out nights. After two years that saw live performances impacted by the pandemic, the show brought a renewed sense of community and energy back to class.
Over 50 students came together to tell the story of Dewey Finn, the slacker and dreamer who poses as a teacher at Horace Green school to pay the rent. Every night, the audience was transported to Dewey’s classroom to be educated in the fundamentals of rock history and essential lessons in rebellion.
Year 13’s Matthew Ignatiou took on the role of Dewey, effortlessly combining rock star charisma with comedy.
Matthew Ignatiou said:
Being a part of School of Rock was a spectacular experience.
Being unable to work practically, rehearse or perform for two years was disheartening for both students and staff. So this project was a complete joy. Working alongside students from years 7 -13 created a real sense of community, which, I think, shone through in the shows.
The show was an explosive nod to the cult film and had the audience rocking along to the score. Exceptional vocals came from all the cast and included pitch-perfect renditions of “Give up your Dreams” performed by Patty. There was an emotional plea from children to parents with “If Only You Would Listen”, Summer’s call to arms in “Time to Play” and the anthemic, explosive “Stick it to the Man.
Imogen Clawson, who played Summer Hathaway, added:
I really enjoyed playing the role of Summer and working on this brilliant show with the entire cast and our teachers. Everyone worked really hard and I made so many new friends during the process. It has been great seeing everyone supporting each other and being part of putting on a show after Covid.
The cast displayed incredible comic timing, dance moves and musicality, supported by the musicians and crew. The house band, led by Musical Director Mr Post, were equal stars of the show, rocking out each night with fantastic musical storytelling. The technical team worked remarkably hard in ensuring everything ran without a hitch.
Lucy Hargreaves, who played Mrs Mullins, said:
Being cast as Mrs Mullins was genuinely one of the best experiences of my life. I want to pursue drama as a career, so it’s been lovely to meet students in older and younger years who share the same passion and desire for performance as me. I looked forward to rehearsals every day with these people and made some lasting friendships. It was an honour to be part of this production, one I’m sure will be talked about for years to come!
School of Rock came together just five months after auditions. Since rehearsals began last October, staff and students have overcome countless obstacles, from COVID absences to year 11 and 13 mock exams. It’s no exaggeration to say that, between them, they pulled off a truly unforgettable show.
Alex Bennett, Faculty Leader of Performing Arts, said:
After two years without performances, we were delighted to welcome audiences back to Harrogate Grammar School. School of Rock proved a huge success and that is all down to the sheer hard work, creativity and resilience of the students and staff involved. As always, there were many challenges to overcome, none more so than the sheer numbers of students having to isolate during the rehearsal process. I was so proud to watch the way our young people bonded and stepped in to support each other.
Neil Renton, Headteacher at Harrogate Grammar School, said:
School of Rock raised the roof and was exhilarating from start to finish. Huge congratulations to everyone on and off-stage for bringing so much energy to each show. The commitment that has gone into putting this show together is really impressive, especially in the face of Covid restrictions and illness. We’re very proud of all our talented young people.