Oakham’s Lower School pupils will take a dramatic voyage this term, as they have begun their virtual rehearsals of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Following an array of online auditions, the production is now well underway, albeit under different circumstances to normal. “Our cast are now all busy enjoying being a part of the production, with rehearsals taking place on MS Teams,” says Director of Drama, Gilly Norell.
The rehearsals, which take place twice a week, are not only for the actors, but also for the dance chorus. “We certainly haven’t ‘scaled back’ in any way,” continues Gilly; “we have a large cast, of 46 pupils, as well as a full dance chorus.”
The play, adapted by Glyn Robbins from the ever popular book by C. S. Lewis, brings to the stage the adventures aboard the Narnian ship Dawn Treader and its quest for seven missing Lords. It is a cautionary tale with wonderful escapism, which is incredibly fitting for this time;with characters engaged in a variety of exciting escapades at sea in storms, and on land with the deadly lure of gold.
Performances will take place at the end of June, with the hope that Oakham’s Queen Elizabeth Theatre will be safely back open for live Theatre. “We have contingency plans for how we adapt to all circumstances,” explains Gilly. “This includes rehearsing the play with two casts in two different ‘bubbles’ – as we are now used to being highly flexible to ensure that – come what may – ‘the show must go on’.”
“We are seriously committed to continuing to offer all of our pupils – including the youngest members of our community – the performance opportunities for which Oakham is renowned,” concludes Gilly. “The stage doors may be temporarily closed, but Drama and all the benefits it brings to our pupils, very much continues apace.