Cardinal Newman students have been performing Arabian Nights at the Newman College Lecture Theatre on Wednesday 31st January, Thursday 1st February and Friday 2nd February 2018.
Starring Anna Harris as Queen Shahrazad and Eimhin Wellings as King Shahrayar, Arabian Nights is a collection of ancient tales told by Queen Shahrazad, who relates them as entertainment for her jealous and murderous husband, Shahrayar, hoping to keep him amused and herself alive over a number of nights. With a mischievous and silver tongue, Queen Shahrazad paints a dazzling array of stories and characters, summoned from strange and magical worlds populated by beasts, singing trees and crafty thieves. The ancient tales she tells include Alibaba and the 40 Thieves, The Story of the Little Beggar, The Story of Abu Hassan, The Story of the Wife who Wouldn’t Eat and The Story of the Envious Sisters.
The production is performed by a talented cast of Years 7-13 students and is a spectacular show. Artistic direction is by Graham Hammett and musical direction from Cat Lane.
Graham Hammett, Subject Leader for Drama, said: “This is my debut production at Cardinal Newman Catholic School and I have been really impressed with the level of talent that we have here. The students have worded incredibly hard during the rehearsals and I couldn’t be more proud of them! The costumes are all amazing and it has been great to bring a little bit of the East into our Newman College Lecture Theatre.”
I play Queen Scheherazade. I have been in all of the school productions since being at Newman. I have played a spoon, a member of Fagin’s gang, a plant tentacle, Johnny Casino and a clipboard woman. I also performed in the Tempest at the BOAT. This is my biggest part by far and I’m really excited. I am in Year 12 studying Drama, Music and English so this helps my studies too. I have also loved mentoring the Year 7 and Year 8 cast, many of whom have never performed before. It has been fantastic to watch us grow through the rehearsals and it is now all really coming together. The props and costumes look really magical too.
I play Scheherazade’s father who is also the vizier of King Sharayar. Previously, I was in Billy Elliot as a Scab and I also performed in The Tempest at the BOAT. I have also been an extra in an opera at the Theatre Royal. Rehearsals are going really well – it is a smaller cast than in previous productions and we are all getting on as one big production family which is lovely. It’s a lot of fun! I love the Arabian Nights story with its positive messages and there are a lot of good roles for everyone. I love my character as there is a lot of conflict between his traditional values of duty and killing all those women.
I play Dinarzad who is Scheherazade’s sister. I have been involved in all of the school productions since starting at Newman. I played the granny in Billy Elliot last year. I also attend Brighton Little Theatre Youth Group and have played Carrie in Goodnight Mister Tom and Young Estella in Great Expectations. I am also studying Drama GCSE so this helps with my studies. Rehearsals are going really well – we are working in small groups on each individual story and everyone has been very dedicated. It’s very different to what we have done before. The costumes are really exciting and I love my costume.
I play Alibaba. I have been in all of the school productions since being at Newman. I have played a child, a member of the chorus, Doody in Grease and Jackie in Billy Elliot. I also attend Goldmans Stage School where I have been in a number of showcases. I am currently doing A-level Drama so this helps with my studies too. Rehearsals are going really well and we are on track for a great performance. It is a smaller group than in previous years and it has been a lot of fun.
I play the Captain of the Forty Thieves. I have been in some previous productions as a member of the chorus and a dancer so I am so pleased to have got such a prestigious role this time. Rehearsals are going really well and we are all working very hard at the moment. The cast have all become good friends now and I will miss it when it all ends.