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Swamped with success: ACS Cobham delivers show-stopping Shrek performance

ACS Cobham students, parents, staff and alumni have put on a show-stopping performance of Shrek The Musical, a production chosen due to its reflection of the school’s values of diversity, equity and inclusion.

ACS Cobham is renowned for its professional-quality theatre productions and its 500 seat state-of-the-art auditorium, and this year’s show was no different. The community came together to produce a show written for professionals and worthy of the West End, all while developing a range of skills – from lighting, to performing, to costume design.

The cast featured students from Grade 7 (Year 8) and above, as well as parents, teachers and ACS employees, with choreography led by ACS Cobham alumni. Behind the scenes, students played in the accompanying orchestra, ran stage management and lighting, and assisted with set design.

Emma, a High School student who led the backstage production, comments: “I enjoy being stage manager because I love being involved with the process of the theatre! I work with the script, sets, lighting and music, so I get to really dive deep into a play.”

Alongside a student population that is 33% British, ACS Cobham’s student and staff population represents over 60 nationalities and the school is committed to fostering a diverse, equitable and inclusive community. Shrek The Musical was selected by students and staff because of the way the story embodies and portrays these important values. Lorraine Wright, a member of staff who took part in the production, explains: “This show has so many strong and important messages for anyone who watches it and that’s what I think makes it great. The main theme running through it is don’t judge a book by its cover; the song Freak Flag is so brilliant because it’s saying be proud of who you are, embrace the differences, and everything will look so much brighter. ACS as a community champions diversity and equity for all and this song completely embodied our ethos in that respect.”

Darryl Nel, Head of Performing Arts at ACS Cobham, comments:

“Bringing students, teachers, parents and other community members together onstage for a project like this was quite remarkable. This project saw family members have the chance to share the stage together, for students to work and perform alongside their teachers, and for colleagues from across the organisation to interact together in a vibrant way. We cannot underestimate the value of a project like this for building a connected, engaged community.

“The past two years have been particularly trying for everyone, and the impact of the lockdowns has been felt in empty theatres across the world. We are quite overjoyed that we have had the opportunity to make and share live theatre once again in our own venue. This production was the perfect, bubbly tonic we all needed – a feel-good celebration of difference and individuality coupled with the power of collective endeavour.”

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