the weekly newsletter from Dr Ruth Weeks, Headmistress
The Curtain Falls on Les Misérables
20 November 2015
Saturday 14 November saw the final performances of the EHS production of Les Misérables. All shows were sold out and each received an enthusiastic standing ovation. The
Saturday performances were both dedicated to the people of Paris following the atrocities carried out on November 13. The cast, crew and audience witnessed a stirring
performance on both occasions as a fitting tribute to the victims of the terrorist attacks.
The process of rehearsals was extensive and a considerable undertaking for all involved. Planning for the show began last Easter and following a lengthy audition process, main characters were selected. For the first time in EHS history, male students were involved from five local schools and attended rehearsals alongside our girls. Many of the boys had to travel a considerable distance to attend rehearsals but their commitment (in true EHS fashion) did not falter at any point.
The scale of the production was larger than anything in the school's 150-year history. The cast numbered around 80 and a supporting team of technicians, stage crew, make-up, professional musicians and staff helpers easily exceeded 100 people. A musical of this scope and size requires a large orchestra, and musicians from around the West Midlands made up the 'band' for our show, 32 people in total. For many of our students this was their first opportunity to sing with a live orchestra. The experience of working with professional sets and props, combined with a group of professional musicians was a superb opportunity for company members.
Many of the schools' vocal coaches, professional musicians and orchestral players commented on how professional the show looked and sounded. Many people said that they forgot that they were watching a school production. From the superb make-up, amazing lighting and staging to the breath-taking singing and acting, the show was the most amazing success.
I would like to thank all students and staff involved and I hope, like me, that this was an experience that they will never forget. I hope that this creative and expressive opportunity has opened up new possibilities for students that they wouldn't have previously been confident enough to undertake; and that the new friendships formed and the memories will last a lifetime.
Congratulations to all involved and thank you!
Mr K Robson
Director of Music
Madam Thenardier (Francesca Fernando) bullies little Cosette (Lydia Diwaker) instructing her to fetch water from the well or 'she'll forget to be nice'
Madam Thenardier (Francesca Fernando) and her husband (Jack Bostock) feed a dead rat into the mincer to make sausages
Valjean (Tom Carson) has rescued Fantine (Suzie Murphy) from her life on the streets; unfortunately Fantine is seriously ill and dies soon after. Valjean promises to raise little Cosette as his own daughter
Enjolras (Darius Shoja-Assadii) leads the group of students following the death of General Lamarque. They plot to start a revolution that will stir the people of Paris into action
One day more ... but to what? All the main characters sing about how they see the dawn of a new age - who will be victorious?
Marius (Henry Liggins) holds the body of his friend Eponine (Chloe Adams) in his arms. She is mortally wounded after trying to get back to the barricade. Enjolras (Darius Shoja Assadii) sings 'She is the first to die' and laments her passing and the impending fate that seems to await the students
Brave Gavroche (Esther Simkiss) is shot several times while trying to collect ammunition from soldiers in the street. He dies in the street as French snipers show no mercy
Javert (Oliver Daniels) confronts Valjean (Tom Carson) who has carried Marius (Henry Liggins) unconscious and badly wounded from the barricade. Valjean begs Javert for an hour to save the young man. Javert is at odds with his own principles and in a moment of realization that Valjean is a good man is plunged into his own self-doubt
Realising that his principles have been flawed Javert is consumed with guilt and realising his mistake takes his own life rather than living with the consequences. Javert throws himself off the bridge into a swollen river
Marius (Henry Liggins) has recovered from his injuries and marries Cosette. At the wedding Thenardier (Jack Bostock) attempts to blackmail Marius. Marius notices the ring that Thenardier stole off his unconscious body following his rescue from the barricade by Valjean. Marius suddenly realises that it was Valjean that saved his life that night (in order to look after Cosette)