Team Spirit can take young stars to top

PUPILS at a Felixstowe school are hoping to reach a wider audience after their production of a modern play was chosen for an international competition.

By Richard Cornwell

PUPILS at a Felixstowe school are hoping to reach a wider audience after their production of a modern play was chosen for an international competition.

Pupils at Orwell High were tackling Judy Upton's drama Team Spirit, which the author described as a "floating Big Brother" .

The play centres on Tania, played by Alex Hinson, a brave woman who attempts to sail round the world single-handed, and the problems she faces.

As she travels the high seas, she is constantly watched and supported by hundreds of people on the internet – and is bombarded by e-mails and mobile phone calls, while she is always on view on the webcam.

Everyone wants her to solve their problems or live their dreams for them, until Tania is faced with a dilemma when, leading the race and in sight of achieving her ambition, she hears another boat is in desperate trouble in stormy seas.

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Around 40 students, many aged only 11 or 12, performed the play to audiences of parents and friends of the school, including mayor and mayoress of Felixstowe, Harry and Pam Dangerfield.

The technical wizardry involved in the production, combined with the strengths of all the actors, resulted in an atmospheric and thought-provoking evening.

Orwell High's production has been selected from a huge number of applicants to take part in the International Connections Youth Theatre Festival this year.

The cast and crew will travel to Cambridge later this month to rehearse and perform the play at the Cambridge Arts Theatre.

The other productions of Team Spirit around the world, as well as those of the other ten plays in this year's festival, will similarly showcase their productions in local regional partnership theatres.

Each performance is videoed and one production of each play will be selected to perform at the National Theatre in London as part of the week-long festival in July.

This festival is a public event to which press and critics are invited.

Only six companies have elected to produce Team Spirit, so the students are very hopeful their production, on which they worked so hard, will be chosen.

The cost of transporting everybody to Cambridge, in the first instance, and maybe eventually to London is heavy, and Orwell's head of drama Paula Baker is actively looking for sponsorship.

Anyone who would like to support enthusiastic young people in this once in a lifetime project is invited to do so.

The experience would complement their academic education and give them a real opportunity to shine in a wider arena.

If anyone is interested in helping with sponsorship, they should contact Paula Baker on 01394 282628.

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