Oh What a Lovely War is Performing Arts students' last show of the year

Oct 28, 2014

Oh What a Lovely War is Performing Arts students' last show of the year

Performing Arts students have staged their final production of the year, appearing in Oh What a Lovely War.

The ensemble of 12 students, half the final-year Level 3 Extended Diploma cohort, appeared in the show at the department’s theatre on May 14 and 15.

Oh What a Lovely War is a stage musical based around the First World War, with plenty of songs and rapid changes in scene, characters, accents and languages.

"I had one section where I switched very quickly from British to German to French to Serbian to Austro-Hungarian," said Cameron Muir.

"It’s a lot to remember, and switching characters that quickly can be hard to do convincingly. It’s something we’ve worked really hard on."

The cast started working on the production in September, first spending time researching the conflict and later visiting a care home to sing war-time songs for people with dementia.

As part of their Production Arts unit they also designed and created the costumes, set, hair and makeup with designer Clair Prime, in a move also intended to help them take ownership of the show and to understand how different roles fit together on a production.

A photograph of one of Clair’s ancestors also features on the front of the show programme.

"Performing Oh What a Lovely War in the centenary year makes it feel even more special and the sacrifices that people made that bit more real," said Jordan Harrison.

"You realise you can’t even comprehend what people experience during war, and we’ve tried really hard to bring that through to our performances."

The production was also the first full piece directed by Performing Arts lecturer Leanne Bentley.

"This theatre has become synonymous with really great work, which is something we’re really excited by but it does up the ante a bit," she said.

"Everyone has worked so hard on this production, we’ve all learnt a huge amount and I think that really shows through in the performances."

Oh What A Lovely War was created by Joan Littlewood and her Theatre Workshop in 1963, premiering on Broadway the following year and going on to receive four Tony Award nominations and a Tony Award, with Richard Attenborough directing a cinematic adaptation in 1969.

The next production by the department will be Lord of the Flies, performed by the second group of final-year students on May 28 and 29.

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