St Malachy’s High School pupils are going to be rocking to the sounds of one of the London West End’s successful musicals this week.
Show director, teacher Clare Murnin, said: “Cora Magee who is Head of Music and myself went to London last June and to see the musical School of Rock. It was a terrific show and seeing it firsthand made us realise that this was achievable in our school.
“It is written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and he has made the rights available to schools and educational institutions. It is a real fun musical and the pupils at the school have been rehearsing well since September and they are really enjoying it so we’re really excited about this being a great showcase of the talents we have at St Malachy’s.
“School of Rock has been a success in the West and in Broadway in New York. It’s about a lead singer/performer who is a bit clueless and with the help of the school head he grows into a school star and is a super success. .
“Now the show is destined for Castlewellan for four nights. The seventy pupils taking part are quite a handful to manage but they are ready now for the opening night and all looking forward to it.
“We were delighted recently when a cast member of the London production tweeted to us wishing us good luck on our performances. The pupils were absolutely thrilled. It’s really encouraging to get that level of support and recognition.”
Head of music Cora Magee said: “I’m so impressed with this show. The students from year 8 to year 14 are thoroughly enjoying it. We have a cohort of students in the school who are seriously into rock music so this is definitely their scene.
“It’s just a perfect show for us about school life. It’s great fun. It’s really about how much teachers can influence pupils to reach heights that they did not think they could achieve.”
Lead rocker Christopher Shields said: “I play the part of Dewey Shields who is a bit slow but with the encouragement of the teachers he turns into a rock icon.”
Year 14 pupil Aoife McKibbin who plays the role of the head teacher Rosaleen Mullins added: “I’m really enjoying this show. I have just passed my Grade 8 level in theatre performance. This show is a great experience for me and the rehearsals are going well.
“I sing a song ‘Queen of the Night… it is a bit classical for my style and it’s quite a challenge but I’ll give it my best. I’ve also enjoyed work with the younger students and have made a lot of new friends in this production. It’s great to see them growing in confidence as the rehearsals go on.
“I hope to go on to study broadcast journalism possibly at Edinburgh University.”
Tickets for the show are available in Castlewellan.