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ZAHRA TAIT Grade 8: Stratford-Upon-Avon

Stratford-Upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, theatre mecca, a medieval market town, and a cozy one with lots of very old and well-maintained buildings. The town of Stratford on the river Avon, was our first stop on this trip and it was my favourite place. Before arriving I had some idea of what the area was going to look like and what kind of weather to expect but I was up for quite a surprise. It was a lot colder and the town was beautiful! It wasn’t a city where everyone was rushing to get to places, it was a town filled with peace and calm. Our days were packed with fun and we had plenty of time to explore it. As a group we walked around the park just outside the RSC’s theatre (Royal Shakespeare Company). We stopped and took photos with statues, chased bubbles, and we spotted a ferris wheel. The park was well maintained and had so much space to move around. That first night, we ate at a famous fish and chips; and I have one recommendation, share the fish and chips!! Trust me, it’s bigger than you think!

Although I was told we were staying in a BnB (Bed and Breakfast), I wasn’t sure what to expect because I thought it was a big house with everyone inside of it but once again I was pleasantly surprised. We arrived and as I took a step inside I felt so comfortable because it just had this warm, welcoming feel. We carried our suitcases up the stairs and went right into our rooms. These were gorgeous and spacious, I didn’t expect this much space but it was a lovely feeling. Every night we had to choose what breakfast we wanted for the next day; there were several options including a full English; sausages, eggs, tomatoes, beans, mushrooms…. all delicious! Every morning we would walk downstairs and sit down in the dining room and would chat, it was a lovely feeling getting up and walking downstairs to smiling faces. I honestly think if anyone is coming to Stratford-Upon-Avon they should stay in an BnB because it is comfortable and lovely!

STUART MACPHERSON Grade 9: Kunene and the King

At Stratford-Upon-Avon, we watched 2 performances. One of them was Kuenne and the King. It was definitely one of the more serious shows we watched, with racism being the focal point of the play. To begin with, there were only two actors (John Kani – Wakanda’s Old King in the Black Panther Movies, and Anthony Sher- a stage veteran) in this whole performance. They presented a flawless performance, really bringing the characters to life with emotion and speech. (Summary of the play taken from RSC ‘s website: Play by John Kani: South Africa, 2019. Twenty-five years since the first post-apartheid democratic elections, two men from contrasting walks of life are thrust together to reflect on a quarter century of change.)

Speech played a very important part in this play, so much so, that you would see the spit come out of the actors’ mouths because they made sure their diction was spot on, which was. Another thing that really stood out, was how, even though it was a serious play, there was still an aspect of humour involved and this was done in a lot of different ways, like pauses, length of sentences and the language used. In conclusion, this show is really worth seeing, so I recommend it if you get the chance to watch it but I also think that the show isn’t for young children because of the strong language and topic of the play. It’s also 90 minutes long without an intermission so, bring water; just don’t be too loud when drinking during the show, as it was an intimate performance space.   

Chonlada CHAISETSUMPAN (Milk) Grade 9: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1 and 2

Whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not, the performance of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ is one of the best performance I’ve ever seen. Summary taken from HarryPotterThe Play.com: It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children. While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.’

#keepthesecrets mean that I will not reveal the specifics. However, what I can share , is that the performance managed to turn a fictional story of magic and adventure into reality. Whatever I thought couldn’t happen in reality with the story’s main idea of magical spells, actually happened in front of my very eyes! Time and again, the special effects and illusions left me intrigued and gasping with surprise. The ambience that was set was perfect, giving the audience the same emotions that the actors and atmosphere of the scenes were expressing. Delivery of the dialogue was great, making the audience laugh out loud with its comedic moments or gripping the edge of our seats with its tension. The actors looked like they were having so much fun!

I’m very glad that I had the chance to experience this performance and enjoyed a lot about it. When the performance had ended, I couldn’t help but feel a little heavy hearted as I wanted it to continue on for a little longer. The adrenaline was still rushing through my body, with a grin so wide, my cheeks started to hurt. For anyone who hasn’t watched this performance yet, I highly recommend it, however, be warned that the noises could be very loud at times!

Hamilton! – Anna Gorlova

Getting to watch Hamilton-An American Musical, was a dream come true for me. I have wanted to watch this ever since I first heard about it about two years ago. Even though I knew all the lyrics well, and had listened to the sound track many, many times, watching it completely blew my mind. The show brought out so many feelings and emotions that I didn’t know I had. I can, for sure, say that watching the actors, singers and dancers perform in real life was a whole new inexplicable experience.

The musical went beyond all of my expectations. It was so mesmerizing to see how much work and effort the actors put in on that stage, and how absolutely incredible they sounded. It struck me how the choreography and all of the dancers were such a huge part of the show; the dancers practically stole all my attention. I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage for one second because of them. The choreography added to, and changed the view of the entire show for me. Also, even though it wasn’t the “original cast” from New York, the cast which played on stage that night was phenomenal.

After the show, we stayed on for a while and waited outside the stage door. Despite how cold it was and the amount of time which we waited to meet the actors, it was worth it. We got to have our tickets and booklets signed by the actors and dancers themselves….and of course, took pictures with them. Overall, I am extremely grateful for getting to go on this trip and experience watching my favorite show of all time.