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message board page 1

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Message 64(July 2013)


Thank you so much for the musical Smike. During the Summer Term 2013, the Year 6 at Kew College prepared what is arguably the pinnacle of their time at Kew College: Smike!


The children in Year 6 worked diligently alongside their class teachers and Head of Music to stage a spectacular musical and dramatic feast. Many fantastic dance routines were incorporated into the production and this added an extra dimension to the show.


The backdrops and settings were carefully crafted to reflect the spirit of the play. During the performances parents and governors packed the marquee, which was an enchanting setting. The children in Year 6 thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of Smike, and spent much time learning the rather tricky Yorkshire accent.


Year 6 learnt about workhouses in the Victorian Era, and gave immensely convincing performances of the way of life in that time. The characters in Smike were performed with great poise and all the children were of an exceptional standard. Kew College were very proud of the performances for Smike.


Here are some photos of the shows.


Go to Message board page 2 for more comments and photos

Message 65(Feb 2014)


“Smike, Smike, Smike, More Than All Right!”


February 2014 was the third and hopefully not the final time I have been involved with “Smike”. I first helped out with rehearsals, choreography and make up at a boarding school with a co-ed (but mostly male) cast of 40 pupils, aged 11-13, chosen for their enthusiasm. It involved both staff and pupils, on and off stage.  All went very well and I was hooked.


The next time I directed a full blown, 3 night production with a selective all boy cast and crew of 70 plus, ranging in age from 7-11.  The audience ranged in age from 4 to 80 and left the Drama Studio singing, an activity which continued at home for weeks afterwards.


And so, back to St Augustine’s Priory in February 2014. And to the Year 9s, or Upper IV, as we know them. This was my first all-girl show with this age group. The two productions, for such they were, were completely different on the two nights.  Both were characterised by energy, humour, teamwork and individual interpretations of the scary Mr Squeers, in particular. Both classes exceeded my expectations as usually shy girls acted and sang their socks off and consummate actors did their stuff. My only regret is that we didn’t go for a four night run.


There’s always next time.


Bridget A Ogley St Augustine’s Priory, Ealing February 2014.



Message 66 (Feb 2014)


Pics from Kingswood House Production - February 2014



Message 67 (April 2014)


‘I can’t wait to start rehearsals of Smike’ at Tatworth Primary School ready for our performances in July.  This will be my fifth time of producing the show and the children are nearly as excited as I am!  It is a great musical and as well as performing at our village primary school, we have booked a new venue for our final performance, the Guildhall in Chard, Somerset.  Roll on July!’   


David Knight Headteacher Tatworth Primary



Message 76 (March 2017)


Pics from Packwood Haugh School, Shrewsbury



Message 75 (March 2017)


I played Smike. I really enjoyed it but I was very nervous at the start. It was powerful when everyone shouted “Shut Up Smeeton! “ at me at the top of their voices!

Once I was late on because I was still changing. The modern children did a brilliant job improvising until I managed to arrive on stage.

My favourite song was Better off The Way I Am out of the solos I sang. I think the whole play made me feel more confident about my acting.


Eve L - (Smike)  Packwood Haugh School



Message 74 (March 2017)


My favourite song was Dotheboys Rock when everybody was really getting into the dancing and there was some great acrobatics and even a running backflip!


Zennor H - (Modern Child & Story teller) Packwood Haugh School



Message 73 (March 2017)


My favourite part was in our Victorian lesson on stage. Three people mixed up the letters when spelling "Clean Winder”,  and they stood in the wrong place. It was actually quite funny as Mr Squeers had to crossly sort it out. We decided to keep it in the next night!


Bea Grigg (Victorian Child) Packwood Haugh School



Message 72 (March 2017)


The hardest bit was when I had to fill in for someone who was ill, because I had to learn his lines in an hour!


Tom Bright - (Marsh)  Packwood Haugh School



Message 71 (March 2017)


I found it really fun because it was a musical and that was very different, because I've never done a musical before. I played Nickleby and really enjoyed it, despite losing my voice on the first night!  It was great that Simon May was there, and was able to give me advice for the last night!


Jack Y - (Nicholas Nickleby) Packwood Haugh School



Message 70 (March 2017)


I had to do multiple costume changes including being a Victorian child, modern day child and Snawley. It was such great fun!  


Louis G - (Snawley) Packwood Haugh School



Message 69 (March 2017)


I thought the piece suited people from any age from reception to grandparents, and it was funny.  My favourite song was The Daily Test  because we all got really angry at the end.


James M - (Chorus) Packwood Haugh School


Message 68 (March 2017)


As we were not going to use a band, we used the backing tracks, reworked in 2010 by Simon May, and supplied by Joseph Weinberger.  

They were absolutely invaluable in rehearsals, as we had been supplied with 2 versions of each song. One with just the background accompaniment, the other with the singing on top.

The disks were of  excellent quality.  We used the latter disk a lot at the start, as we worked out blocking and movement with the children.

These disks saved us a lot of time, as they were primed and ready with familiar accompaniment when it came to the performance.

We were also supplied with alternative keys for several of the songs, which in a couple of cases we used.  I thoroughly recommend these disks for a smoother ride during rehearsals.


Richard Cowley - (Director) Packwood Haugh School