Young talents from North Shields took to the stage at Whitley Bay Playhouse

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Around 75 students from Years 7 to 13 at St Thomas More Catholic High School took part in the show, which played to an audience of some 950 people.

Based on the hit 2003 film of the same name, the Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical tells the story of out-of-work rock singer-guitarist Dewey Finn, who poses as a supply teacher at an elite school and assembles a group of students to take part in a Battle of the Bands contest.

Cast members included Kody Walker as Dewey Finn, Sam Oswald as Dewey’s friend Ned Schneebly, Lily Clephane as school head Rosalie Mullins, and Katie Swabey as Ned’s girlfriend Patty Di Marco.

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Among the staff members involved in the production were Teacher of Performing Arts Hazel Sinclair; English teacher Alex Chidambaram; Music teachers Amy Gleeson, Alyson Hodgson and Seb Jones; School Chaplain Michael Thompson; and Learning Support Assistant Morgan Diamond.

St Thomas More Catholic High School School Of RockSt Thomas More Catholic High School School Of Rock
St Thomas More Catholic High School School Of Rock

“It was a huge team effort for staff and students,” said Mrs Sinclair.

“It was amazing to see how professional the students were on stage – like real actors and musicians. The level of performance on stage was commented on by Whitley Bay staff and audience members, who viewed it as being professional and ‘not like a school show’.”

School of Rock was a hit with the students as well as the audience.

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“I’ve discovered that I love acting and being on stage,” said Helena Cameron, who played Macey, while musician Cody Latimer said, “Being in the pit band for the musical was honestly one of the best experiences I’ve had – it’s something that will stay with me forever.”

Eloise Chandler said: “I have learnt so much and picked up so many new skills, thanks to all of the wonderful teachers and staff involved in the show,” and Max Milburn added: “It was an emotional rollercoaster but I have made plenty of new friends.”

Ava Appleby, who played Shanelle, agreed: “The friends I have made and the memories I will keep forever!”

“The musical allowed students from Year 7 to Year 13 to unite in the school community through a joint love and passion for singing, dancing and acting,” said Brooke Pyle, while Sam Gibson said: “I am so proud to say I was a part of this production.”

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The show was the first staged since 2019 by the school, which is a member of the Bishop Bewick Catholic Education Trust – and there are now plans to make it an annual event.

“We have seen each student grow in confidence, make new friends, learn new skills, and be so excited to come to school,” continued Mrs Sinclair.

“The show also highlighted the importance of the Creative Arts in school and the positive impacts it brings for so many. The show was a huge success, and the audience loved it.”