Aspiring actors from City and Islington College brought plenty of excitement and laughter to schoolchildren across London with their own production of Alice in Wonderland.
HNC Performing Arts students from the college’s centre in Camden Road performed their abridged version of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale to around 800 pupils at four primary schools.
Students scripted the play and added some twists including four Alices with different personalities – sad, smart, fearful and happy – after researching and improvising scenes from the book.
The show starred Elise Bradford, Mia Campbell-Fiawoo, Vasilena Grigorova and Joanna Rutagambwa as the four Alices, Curtis Bushell as the Mad Hatter, Dom Beagley at the Cheshire Cat, Jade Sozou as the Queen of Hearts and Lee Bute-Law as the White Rabbit.
The play was performed at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School in Islington, Peter Hills C of E Primary School in Southwark, Mission Grove Primary School in Walthamstow and at Angel Shed Theatre Company, a children’s theatre based at college’s centre in Camden Road. Further productions were also put on for staff, students and patents at the college’s theatre.
One pupil at Peter Hills C of E Primary School said the play was really good and they “wanted to laugh and cry at the same time” while another wished the cast could “come to school every day.”
Year 4/5 teacher Wanda Esterhuizen said: “We want to say a huge thank you to the talented students of City and Islington College. Our pupils were really looking forward to the show as it was the first time they’d had any guest come into school after lockdown and they thoroughly enjoyed it. The performance was fantastic and just what the whole school needed.”
The play was directed by Curriculum Leader Tim Chaundy supported by a backstage crew comprising of students Marc Roth, 19, and James Whittington-Phillips, 17, who are both studying for a Performing and Production Arts Level 3 Diploma, and Theatre Technician Natalie Tomlin.
Tim said: “Each year our students tour schools with a production but last year that was not possible because of COVID, so instead they spent their time devising their own production of Alice in Wonderland. The play was absolutely brilliant and went down a storm with the children bouncing with energy and excitedly joining in the action, much to their teachers’ joy.
“The teachers were full of praise for the show, saying how much they loved having our performers back in school, as they had brought some comedy, energy and interactive entertainment back that the children had missed during the pandemic.”
CANDI is launching a new HNC Performing Arts course with Angel Shed Theatre Company starting in September focused on diversity and inclusivity in theatre.