Perse production of The Railway Children is just the ticket
A massive cast of 65 Year 7 and 8 pupils were on the right track for the Perse Lower School performances of The Railway Children.
With a further 20 students working behind the scenes, it is thought to be the biggest number of pupils ever involved in a Perse production.
Perse Theatre Practitioner in Residence David Barrett directed the production and decided to have two completely separate casts for each show.
He said: “It wasn’t pre-determined that we were going to do it like that, but because we had so much talent and interest, especially with Year 7 coming in, we wanted to give them an opportunity to showcase what they could do.
“When we auditioned, there was so much interest we thought it would be a good chance to be really inclusive as we want pupils to keep doing drama moving forward.
“We also broke the main characters down further, so we had three people playing Bobbie, three playing Peter and three playing Phyllis in each cast.”
Based on E Nesbit’s classic novel, which became a hit film in 1970, The Railway Children centres on siblings Bobbie, Peter and Phyllis, who move from London to a house near a train line after their father is imprisoned after being falsely accused of spying.
They befriend an old gentleman who regularly catches the train near their home and goes on to prove the innocence of their father and ensure their family is reunited.
Mr Barrett said: “I thought it was quite a challenging piece without being too dark or heavy, but it had some substance to it and it’s also a really lovely story that people enjoy.”
In addition to full houses for both shows, the Lower School actors also performed their dress rehearsals in front of audiences of children from Fen Ditton, Queen Emma and Queen Edith Primary Schools.
“It was great to be able to have them along and our pupils certainly benefited from having those extra audiences, so it was really good,” said Mr Barrett.
“This was really an experiment to see if it was doable and how successful it would be. It went really well and it’s certainly something we’d look to do again with the Lower School play.”