Cardinal Newman students have been performing Les Miserables Schools Edition at the Newman College Lecture Theatre on Wednesday 30th January, Thursday 31st January, Friday 1st February and Saturday 2nd February 2019.
Starring Etienne Grolleau-Begg as Jean Valjean and Wojtek Perales as Javert, Les Miserables Schools Edition tells the story of convict Jean Valjean who is released on parole after a 19-year sentence for stealing a loaf of bread by prison guard, Javert. He vows to start an honest life under a new identity but is relentlessly pursued by Javert after breaking parole when he steals some silver and reinvents himself as a mayor and factory owner. Eight years later, Valjean becomes the guardian of a child named Cosette played by Elizabeth Riley. Javert’s relentless pursuit means peace will be a long time coming. Set in post-revolutionary France, the story reaches resolution against the background of the June Rebellion.
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: “The students have worked incredibly hard during the rehearsals and I couldn’t be more proud of them! I have been really impressed with the level of talent that we have especially such incredible and powerful singers. The story of Les Miserables is a very poignant and emotional one and our students have done a fantastic job in bringing that to our audiences each night.”
I play Javert. I love my character – he is meant to be the villain of the piece but he is not really. It has been fantastic to watch us all grow through the rehearsals. I have been more backstage in previous productions so this is great for me to have one of the main parts this year. I love the theatre and am currently studying GCSE Drama.
I play Jean Valjean. There is a lot of singing for my character and I have worked hard on the higher parts as I have more of a baritone voice but the rehearsals are going really well and we are on track for a great performance. I have been in most of the school productions since being at Newman – I played the Artful Dodger in Oliver and Kenickie in Grease. I am currently doing Music Technology A-level so this helps with my studies too.
I play Cosette. She is an elegant, soft character which I am really enjoying playing. I have done a lot of research online to get a feel for how my character has been played by others and there is a lot of singing which I love. I have been involved in some of the school productions previously and was in the ensemble in Billy Elliot. I am also studying Music A-level so this helps with my studies.
I play Eponine. This is the best character I have every played as there is so much depth to her. The whole cast gets on really well and I have loved supporting the younger members of the cast, many of whom have never performed before. I have been in all of the school productions since being at Newman and have loved every minute of it. I have played a spoon, a member of Fagin’s gang, a plant tentacle, Johnny Casino, a clipboard woman and Queen Scheherazade. I am currently in Year 13 studying Drama, Music and English so this helps my studies too.
I play Mrs Thenardier. She is quite a mean character which is great to play – I have always loved acting but this has made me realise how much I love to sing too. Rehearsals are going really well and we are all working very hard at the moment. I am one of the youngest main characters but everyone has been very supportive and we are all good friends. I will miss it when it all ends. I have just started studying GCSE Drama.
I play Mr Thenardier. I am really enjoying playing this character and have been watching my scenes on the television to help me learn and understand more about him. It has been quite a learning curve. The rehearsals have been hard work but everyone is enjoying being part of such a great production. I have been in a few school productions previously and am studying Drama A-level.
I play Enjolras. I am really enjoying this role in the production and getting into character. Rehearsals are going well and we are all having great fun too. This is my first production playing a main character and I am currently studying Drama A-level.