This November, Stockport Grammar School’s annual winter production was an event not to miss, with over 60 pupils involved in the pantomime ‘Cinderella’. Following acting and singing auditions early in the school year, students ranging from school years 7-13 put together this comedy in just over seven weeks of rehearsals. Last week, two evening shows and a matinee performance for Stockport Grammar’s junior school concluded the theatrics. However, main cast students were able to perform for a final time just this week, at Blackfriars Academy located in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, a mixed school for children with additional needs, where they were privileged to spend the day showcasing their production and completing a workshop with the school’s performing arts group. 

Stockport Grammar's incredible drama department relishes in pioneering these shows, with previous school performances including ‘The Production That Doesn’t go quite as well as Expected’ and ‘The Wind in the Willows’ last academic year and ‘DNA’ and ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ preceding in 2021/22. These are not merely limited to the enjoyment of friends and family, with over 50 teachers attending a ‘Cinderella’ evening performance. Composed of two acts and an interval, over 15 songs, and countless props, this production allowed opportunities for all theatrical interests, including dance choreography, sound and lighting, backstage management, costume, singing and so much more. 

The show itself was a fantastic take on a family favourite, featuring water guns, Beyonce's hit ‘Single Ladies’ and lots of audience participation. A crowd favourite was certainly Beryl and Cheryl, ‘ugly stepsisters’. A challenging role to play, especially in front of peers in a school environment, year 12 student Benjamin Smethurst (A.K.A Beryl) reflected upon his experience. Remarking that he was ‘a bit hesitant’ upon first receiving his role, Ben decided to take part because he ‘likes being a part of the community - the drama community- I feel like it’s very fun and we have good times backstage, we’re all very friendly with one another.’ Fellow castmate Toby Gleave (A.K.A Cheryl) remarked upon the importance of the shows for the school community: ‘I think it brings a lot of people together.’ 

Leading man Sachin Gholkar, playing Prince Charming, loved how ‘you meet a lot of people, but also you meet - you socialise with a lot of different year groups.’ The highlight of his performance admittedly was ‘Ben’s bootylicious dance on stage.’

The dedication of teachers, backstage crew and actors certainly made it what it was, with all giving up their afternoons, weekends and lunchtimes for the show. An incredible set constructed by Mrs Moffatt, with the help of student backstage managers and crew, included a pumpkin-turned-carriage light-up masterpiece over 6ft long and 5ft tall. Costumes were carefully considered and selected, particularly Mrs Moffatt, drama teacher and creator of set, props and costumes, who spoke about her own experiences. 

‘I loved every minute… my favourite thing about productions is walking down the corridors while we’re rehearsing and afterwards, and seeing like, little first years being able to say hello to older pupils and the older pupils saying hello and everyone feeling like they’re part of one thing.’