50 students from Year 8 to 11 spent a magical couple of days in London on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

It was a trip that had theatre at its heart.

The students marvelled at the supremely talented casts that made War Horse and Matilda such fabulous spectacles, impressive in their full West End glory. Both plays dealt with the most serious of issues in dramatically juxtaposing styles. They were expertly chosen by trip leader, Mrs Bugg.

War Horse gave us the bitterest taste of the savage Great War but somehow, in the midst of all the futility, we were reminded of the extraordinary connections that can be shared between humans and animals, how friendship and spirit can elevate and sustain us through the most difficult of times. The forensic artistry involved in executing the puppetry of Joey, our equine protagonist, really was state-of-the-art. How can a few puppet masters, visible to all inside the frame of the life-size horse, disappear from view and convince us, beyond any doubt, that Joey was real?

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The wide open spaces of Devon and the Somme Valley left the characters increasingly vulnerable and fearful as the war that would be over by Christmas continued the feed on death and destruction.

By contrast, Matilda dealt with the dark undertones of neglect in a high-energy, grotesquely comical slice of West End perfection. We felt sure that Roald Dahl would have approved. An amazingly talented young cast and a set that served as a testament to the triumph of human creativity, wowed the audience.

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Of course, when in London, you cannot get away from the rich social and cultural influences that can leave you wide eyed and intrigued. Our wonderfully eccentric tour guide gave us the most engaging of narratives as we took in the sights of one of the world’s largest cities, allowing us to get inside this most amazing city and fully appreciate the diversity of this multi-dimensional metropolis.

Our students were resplendent in the warm sun, taking London in their stride and adapting impressively. They had a great time and were an absolute joy to be with. As anyone who has been on a school residential will know, this experience will stay with them forever and stand them in good stead. The footage below captures their spirit perfectly as they approached Winsford, late on at night, at the end of the visit.

Student Reflections

“I have learnt that a little will power can go a long way and how many people and animals were in World War I. 1 million horses went to France and only 65,000 came back. I also made friends with people I wouldn’t have otherwise known.”

“I enjoyed learning how the performers of War Horse and Matilda showed emotion and different acting techniques.”

“I’ve learned about the Great War and the brutality of leaving your families and friends behind. I’ve learned that there are many interesting people in other year groups rather than just my own.”

“I learned about all the various landmarks and their origins. I have spoken to many people I wouldn’t usually socialise with in other year groups.”

“War Horse is a moving story that everyone should hear about.”

“I now know that I want to follow my dreams to perform in London. London has some of the most beautiful buildings and sculptures that I have ever seen and I feel so lucky to have been taken on this trip. I will never forget it. I found the confidence to make a new friend. Something I didn’t think I could do on this trip.”

“I loved going to London. I learnt the history and facts of London and it was really interesting. I’ve been there many times before but I didn’t know about the history of the city.”

“I’ve learnt about the sentimentality of all the monuments and how everything about them has a reason. It has been such an inspiring experience.”

“Mr Taylor-Edwards doesn’t take very good selfies.”

The Roll of Honour

All of the students who represented themselves and the academy so impressively:

  • Laura Gunnell
  • Leah Taylor
  • Opal Williams-Hulse
  • Shannon Wilkinson-Jones
  • Rebecca Ladley
  • Britney Millington
  • Sophie Twigg
  • Lorna Hatton
  • Lauren Curzon
  • Emi Quine
  • Samuel Corbin
  • Ethan Budgen
  • Rhys Harrison
  • Joseph Noble
  • Yuen Brownrigg
  • Robin Kumar
  • James Cheshire
  • Michael Jeffries
  • Ben Dale
  • Luke Hunt
  • Cole Gibson
  • Holly Bell
  • Megan Bell
  • Libby Metcalf
  • Morgan Harvey
  • Georgia Winnington
  • Megan Bird
  • Destiny Powney
  • Amy Shepherd
  • Georgia Bird
  • Amy Parker
  • Emily Scholes
  • Keanna Curzon
  • Chloe Blackmore
  • Rhiannon Edwards
  • Amy Gaskell
  • Caitlin Bishop
  • Shannon Spender
  • Leah Toft
  • Nicole Bishop
  • Hannah Woods
  • Leah Scott
  • Chloe Buckley
  • Kellie Deans
  • Ellie Pierce
  • Steven Eyres
  • Joe Crawford
  • Paige Kettle
  • Courtney Stringer
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