With 220 students and a year’s worth of material, Ariel’s Burgess Hill Academy wanted to ensure everyone had a chance to show their skills on Sunday, May 14.
The biggest ever production from the drama school, the 38 pieces featured more technical brilliance than ever before.
Outstanding performances were matched by skilful lighting and graphics backing the drama, singing and dance numbers, and the audience filled Crawley’s Hawth to the rafters.
The students, aged from four to 19, produced sterling work from contemporary, ‘edgy’ drama pieces to comedic and heart-warming numbers.
Musical theatre performances were delivered from Tommy, School of Rock, Billy Elliot and Matilda.
A piece created by Ariel director Nicci Hopson about the Hillsborough disaster was performed by the oldest students and delivered with both sensitivity and impact.
Dance pieces featured the Austin Powers theme and a number called ‘African Celebration’, which was full of energy and movement. The choreography was precise and tight, demonstrating considerable dance technique in Eleanor Rigby and modern dance number ‘Noir’.
Vocal highlights included gospel standard ‘Down by the River’. A specially arranged version of ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ gave many students the chance to sing solo while ‘Fireflies’ joined students of all ages. Performed in dim lighting the smallest students’ hands were painted with UV paint to portray the tiny glowing insects. Meanwhile a rendition of ‘Riptide’ by The Tempests gave them the opportunity to show their guitar and ukulele skills.
Ariel was delighted to have their patron, actor and West End director Nigel Harman, in the audience along with newly appointed Burgess Hill Town Mayor Jacqui Landriani.
Nigel said: “Last night was a great night at the theatre. From the tiniest of four-year-olds to the accomplished professionalism of the older students, the evening was awash with bold and brilliant performances.
“From thought provoking drama pieces, through contemporary dance, to show stopping musical theatre, there was barely a moment to catch your breath.
“What I was most proud of however, was the extraordinary organization backstage combined with a true sense of heart and deep enjoyment onstage.”
The Burgess Hill Town Mayor said: “Congratulations to everyone involved in the production, which was supported by a sell-out audience. I was blown away by the talent on display and the obvious love and enthusiasm for performing by everyone involved. Burgess Hill clearly has a lot of talent!”
Ariel offer free trials at all their drama academies for prospective students aged four to 19.
There is no audition process and everyone is welcome.
Places are currently available at the Crawley, Haywards Heath and East Grinstead academies and short waiting lists are in place at Burgess Hill and Steyning.
For more information call 01444 250407 or visit www.arielct.co.uk.
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