A Midsummer Night's Dream

This year’s Chew Valley School production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, involving just over 100 students and staff, was performed for four nights at the end of February.

On stage there were some beautiful moments with the live band and young cast coping well with the complex language, character and plot, bringing the story to life with a real sense of fun, energy and clarity. As ever, there were also a number of students supporting behind the scenes. Leading this group was Year 12 student Elizabeth Stuckey, who Stage-Managed the production.

So just what does a Stage Manager do? Elizabeth comments, “As Stage Manager of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, I take responsibility for everything that the audience sees and hears. During rehearsals, I took notes for all of the action happening onstage from what was blocked and developed from Mr Conway’s original concept notes, offering input to ensure an effective performance both visually for the audience and practically for the performers. During the show I was on the platform at the back of the hall cueing all of the entrances, exits and technical elements of the show. I have loved being able to take a different approach to a production and seeing aspects of it that I may previously have not. I now understand the hard work and effort that all the performers must put in, but also everything the crew does that is not necessarily seen by all. I have also been able to work with students from all different year groups, forming friendships that I would never have imagined. Being able to see how the performers have grown in confidence, as well as ability has been a highlight for me. Theatre is all about collaboration and an equal amount of hard work goes into stage production and management as it does into performing. Everybody has a natural preference over how they like to engage with the theatre but everyone involved is working toward the same goal - to create the best piece of theatre they can. I think the opportunities that Chew Valley provides for students to be so hands on and 100% involved is why the work produced is of such high quality.”

For Steve Conway, the school’s Head of Performing Arts, this marks one of the real strengths of the school production. He comments, “By working together, overcoming challenges, pushing themselves in order to achieve something others thought might not be possible, the young people involved in A Midsummer Night’s Dream proved, once again, just how incredible they are. In addition, a number of staff were also present each evening, working hard behind the scenes to support those taking part. Families altered routines and, in some cases, even holidays to allow students to attend rehearsals. We have also had companies, charities and organisations with no connection to Chew Valley School putting themselves out to allow this production to take place. For all of this incredible support I am hugely grateful.”

Mr Conway