Secondary school students to perform Shakespeare classic (Here's how to watch it)

Months of work has went into the production <i>(Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)</i>
Months of work has went into the production (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

A Shakespeare classic will receive a 21st-century remake as secondary school students take to the stage.

Pupils at Cardinal Newman Catholic School and Newman College are adding the finishing touches to their performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Over 75 students, forming two casts, will perform to audiences at the Newman Lecture Theatre in the Upper Drive, Hove when the show opens on Wednesday.

The Argus: The full cast, backstage crew, and musicians, for the production
The Argus: The full cast, backstage crew, and musicians, for the production

The full cast, backstage crew, and musicians, for the production (Image: Graham Hammett / Cardinal Newman Catholic School)

Graham Hammett, head of drama at Cardinal Newman, said: "It's been fun working on this show. We've got a really good cast, lots who do drama and some who don't.

"When it comes together it's all very exciting. It makes hours of hard work worthwhile.

"To do a Shakespeare is really challenging and lots of students might have had preconceived ideas of what it might have been like, so it's been quite exciting to change people's attitudes.

The Argus: Mr Hammett takes the role of director for the play
The Argus: Mr Hammett takes the role of director for the play

Mr Hammett takes the role of director for the play (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

"We've tried to stray from the traditional ways of Shakespare, and I'm just experimenting with different ways.

"For example, the mechanicals will go out into the audience, and take a phone - But we're still keeping with the original Shakespearean language.

"A big part of the challenge was getting students to understand what they're saying. That took us a long time to crack."

The performance is a team effort, with over 75 children in the cast, and many more helping out backstage with lighting, set changes and music.

The Argus: Students from year 7 to year 13 are involved in the play
The Argus: Students from year 7 to year 13 are involved in the play

Students from year 7 to year 13 are involved in the play (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

16-year-old Joseph Burman takes the comic role of Nick Bottom in the performance, which he described as "the face of the show."

Joseph said: "Nick Bottom is the stereotypical thespian. He's all arrogant, vain, and he becomes a donkey. It's quite a varied career I would say.

The Argus: There will be a matinee on Saturday
The Argus: There will be a matinee on Saturday

There will be a matinee on Saturday (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

"I love Shakespeare, people don't appreciate it as much as they should. We're trying to get young people to love Shakespeare, with a modern take on a classic.

"Some people are in medieval costumes, some are in bright, modern day costumes.

He added: "We've put tonnes of work into this. We were here to rehearse after school, weekends, sometimes even before school.

The Argus: Joseph is in Year 11
The Argus: Joseph is in Year 11

Joseph is in Year 11 (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Joseph said he would love to take up acting professionally, and feels as though these productions are a way of honing his skills.

He said: "I've got at least two more years of college here, and after that I'm not really sure. Maybe university, and then the wonderful world of amateur dramatics."

"Everyone's put in the work, and everyone wants to make it work.

"My parents are really looking forward to watching it."

The Argus: Jess has been involved with the productions since she started at the school in 2018
The Argus: Jess has been involved with the productions since she started at the school in 2018

Jess has been involved with the productions since she started at the school in 2018 (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

Jess Davis, who plays Helena, said: "I'm looking forward to performing, there's a very good sense of community.

"We've all been putting in a lot of work. Lots of blood, sweat and tears - And the end result will be worth it. And we got to miss lessons, which is good."

"I'm staying on at Newman College, and I'm looking forward to performing more. Since year 7 I've been in the plays and I'd love to stay on until year 13."

The Argus: Students are involved both onstage and offstage
The Argus: Students are involved both onstage and offstage

Students are involved both onstage and offstage (Image: Andrew Gardner / The Argus)

You can buy tickets to watch the production, between Wednesday, January 25 and Saturday, January 28 by visiting the school's eventbrite page.

Cardinal Newman Catholic School principal, Claire Jarman said: "This is the first time we've done Shakespeare in a while, but the buzz from rehearsals about the quality and creativity of the production has been incredible.

"There is nothing like a school play to bring out the talent, teamwork and energy in a school community and the sense of achievement that our students will get from being involved is off the charts.

"The fact that our youngest students, from year 7 onwards, get to perform alongside year 13 students is also brilliant - I genuinely can't wait to see it."