Marlborough students praised for electrifying musical production

This Is Wiltshire: Paddy Beale, George Havill, Rhys Rowlands, Billy Clarke and Ben Cipolla in impressive form Paddy Beale, George Havill, Rhys Rowlands, Billy Clarke and Ben Cipolla in impressive form

Students at St John's Accademy, Marlborough wowed audiences last week with an electrifying staging of the musical Footloose.

A cast of 60 students aged 11-18 delivered an intense, vibrant interpretation that captivated audiences over four nights.

Based on the true story of a small town in Oklahoma which banned dancing for nearly 100 years, the plot centres on the arrival of a mother and son Ren from Chicago who move to Bomont after her husband walks out on her.

Ren seeks to overturn the ban on dancing and falls in love with Ariel, the daughter of the Rev Shaw who is the power behind the town council and opposed to any such change.

The superb acting direction was undertaken by Maddie Blackwell, a student in the Sixth Form and a team of talented student choreographers under the guidance of dance teacher Andrea Smith prepared three teams of dancers in their energy filled routines.

Max More, the producer and musical director, was ably supported by a brilliant band and chorus.

Mr More said: “The feedback following the performances has been overwhelming with particular praise going to Will Sexton as the Rev Shaw and Ben Cipolla as Willard but these were stand out performers in a really high calibre field of principal actors.

"My congratulations to all involved in a show where everyone really did cut Footloose!”

Many tributes and comments have been sent to St John’s referring to the show as a triumph and one email included the following: "I feel compelled to add that the 'Mama Says' scene was truly exceptional - the single most professional and entertaining scene I've witnessed at any school, including ones which have considerably greater financial means.

"I would never normally compare any school production with a West End show - that'd just be hyperbole - but in the case of this particular scene it came pretty damn close. And there were many other highly accomplished scenes."


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