Stage set for students' long-awaited return to the spotlight - The Rugby Observer
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12th Aug, 2022

Stage set for students' long-awaited return to the spotlight

THE STAGE is set for performing arts students at Rugby College who are ending a long-awaited return to the spotlight with their first major production in nearly three years.

The college’s production of Sweeney Todd takes place across three evenings in its Platform Theatre next week.

Henry Gallagher, as Sweeney Todd, and Cailin Tite, as his business partner and accomplice Mrs Lovett, will lead a cast and crew of 30 Level 3 students.

The musical, with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, follows the story The Demon Barber of Fleet Street – who murders his clients with his straight razor, driven by revenge. The production will be directed by college tutor Hayley Glover.

The college chose to present a production of Sweeney Todd to commemorate the life of Stephen Sondheim, who died in November.

Rugby College’s art department is creating the set for the production, with students also supporting with directing scenes, production, hair, make-up and much more. The art department is working with Ciaran Higgins, technician and main designer, on the set.

The college’s last major production was Chicago in 2019 – which attracting more 300 people from across Rugby over the three days. There was a small show put on in June 2021 but this was also impacted by Covid-19.

Henry, 20, said: “It will be great to get out there. I’m really happy with the cast we have, we have so many talented people and it’s a great course to be a part of.

“I think the role of Sweeney is seen as a suffering hero, but I see him as more of a villain. It’s a really fun character to play and I’m looking forward to it.”

Cailin, 17, said: “I have never cared more about a role than I have this. As soon as I watched Sweeney Todd I fell in love with Mrs Lovett – it’s a role you can go anywhere with and really make it your own.

“The show we did in June was impacted by Covid and, even though it was a great experience, it would have been even better with a full audience.

“This time it feels very ‘real’. We all care so much about the production and have worked really hard to put it together. We can’t wait for audiences to see it.”

Ruth Ditch, Dance Lecturer for Performing Arts at Rugby College, added: “We have a really talented group of students at the college currently. Sweeney Todd is a challenging production but we think it’s definitely a challenge they are up to.

“It’s been really difficult for our students over the last couple of years, we’ve prepared and rehearsed for two different major productions and then been unable to put them on.

“Usually, by now, our second year students will have been involved in two major productions. Nothing beats on-stage experience, it’s so important to their development as performers.”

Performances will take place at 7pm on March 16, 17 and 18. Tickets are priced at £7.50, or £5 for concessions. Email rditch@wcg.ac.uk to book tickets.

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