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Evita – the first state school production  
Luke Drewell, a pupil at Northampton School for Boys, takes us behind the scenes of their recent school production...
Shannon Palmer as Eva

Northampton School for Boys recently became the first state school to stage Evita – after the rights became available to high schools and colleges in the UK & Eire. Cast member Luke Drewell takes us back to the beginning of the school’s rehearsal period and gives us an insight into what it takes to put on the show…

Week One

My name is Luke Drewell and I will be keeping you up to date with the goings on of Northampton School for Boy’s production of Evita. I have no idea what these weekly diaries will be containing but I can promise you an honest account of how the production is taking shape. One thing I do know is that this is going to be a roller coaster of emotions and I hope I can share the pain from the intense dance rehearsals with you and the triumphant feeling of the successes – if I’m experiencing all of this … then so are you! We are going to have such a blast on this show and I hope you have as much fun reading this as I know I am going to have writing it.

The snow has gone (well almost) and the cast has been announced and with only seven weeks before opening night we’ve got our work cut out. Evita – a renowned Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice classic which has graced the stages for 31 years –  now here comes our version! Everyone is thrilled to be working on such an amazing production and in being the first ever state school to perform it – anything can happen! … and probably will!

Right, the first week of rehearsals are now over and what a week! I must admit – not too intense. A nice way to ease everyone into the consecutive Monday evening rehearsals and the weekends that we’ll have to sacrifice! The first rehearsal, being Monday evening, gave us the opportunity to get together as a cast and find out who we are all going to have to put up with! With the piano in place and the director at the front the only thing left to do was the first read through, which was interesting, to say the least, but gave us all an idea of the songs and just how much time and effort is going to be needed! I mean try singing Latin – it doesn’t come naturally you know! This was a great start for everyone and was the kick start that we needed and hearing the voices come together for the first time provided an essence of motivation, not to mention the reality! Surprisingly, this managed to run quite smoothly and by 9pm we were done and you could hear the excitement coming from the cast – “This is going to be wicked!”, “I can’t wait.”

So, as the week slowly progressed rehearsals were taking place – with the dancing as well! A start was made on “Another Suitcase” and “Eva Beware of the City”, which obviously looks a bit ‘wishy-washy’ but what do you expect. The first few rehearsals are always difficult with people not turning up, claiming they ‘didn’t know there was one!’, and especially this week with a couple of school trips going out which meant we were a few people down. But nevertheless we continued on with the rehearsals and getting to grips with what’s going to happen and where. It’s weird seeing how a production takes shape from being on a bare stage just walking through the movements to on the actual night making it look professional! – Exciting to say the least!

With week 1 of the rehearsals out of the way and done with and with the next rehearsal being a week on Monday (4pm – 9pm) we’re bound to get a lot more work done, which you’ll be immediately informed about. So… will this production have a ‘little touch of star quality’ – well all I can say is … watch this space!

Check back for more from Luke, as the cast get closer to opening night!

Posted on: 27th March 2009

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