Eastbourne College – A-Star Academics to A-Star Rock Legends!

24 Jan 2019

With a reputation for helping to develop world-famous performers such as the likes of Eddie Izzard, Ed Speelers (Downton Abbey and Game of Thrones) and Hugh Skinner (Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again), Eastbourne College Drama is a force majeure.

Eastbourne College’s School of Rock performances erupted in a blast of colour and sound as the brazen Dewey Finn took on the challenge of galvanising A-star academics into A-star rock legends!

Based on the hit movie, and faithful to the contemporary humour and vivacious musical score in the current West End production, the College’s School of Rock production followed Dewey Finn, a failed, wannabe rock star who poses as a substitute teacher to earn some extra cash.

Buzzing with energy the tunes kept on coming, from the slow and lyrical to the full-on rock riffs. Fusing the talents of all the year groups, the cast were a delight to watch as they dared to defy the system and try to win the ‘Battle of the Bands’. Backed by a full rock band and looking the part, the pupils were extraordinarily dynamic and skilful in the most technical performance the College has ever attempted.

‘Two hours of absolute bliss!’ stated one audience member, while others marvelled at the level of musical ability the pupils demonstrated as they punched out live music and vocals, using lead and bass guitars, keyboards and drums to electrify the atmosphere.

The Friday and Saturday shows were performed in front of a packed-out College Theatre, which holds in excess of 250 seated, and tickets sold out to the public.

Henry Turnbull, who played the lead role of supply teacher Dewey Finn, had an amazing experience. Initially nervous about taking on such an audacious character, he portrayed Dewey with great attention to detail, projecting the extroverted American accent with panache. Henry built a great rapport with the supporting cast and pushed himself to the limits, combining a busy schedule of schoolwork, sport and rehearsals.

‘This has been the most amazing experience, one I’ll never forget’, an elated Henry commented as he walked off stage after the final performance.

Claudine Sinnett, Director of Drama at Eastbourne College and professional actor with experience in the West End and Broadway, was thrilled with the outcome and praised the cast for their hard work,

‘Directing this group has been a wonderful experience for me personally. They are some of the most talented pupils I’ve ever worked with and I’m glad that I could help them achieve such a great performance.’

She also commended the College’s Music, Dance and administrativerepresentatives (staff and pupils) who worked tirelessly,

‘adding a great deal to our ensemble with their professionalism and talent’, adding that ‘[Eastbourne College Drama] thrives on the idea that theatre can transport us to different worlds. Worlds where everyone is allowed to express themselves creatively.’