Pupils on song with actor Samuel West

Pupils on stage at St Wilfrid's (s)
Pupils on stage at St Wilfrid's (s)

Over 150 schoolchildren from across Harrogate joined actor Samuel West on stage to perform composer Benjamin Britten’s opera Noye’s Fludde.

The performances, at historic St Wilfrid’s Church on Friday and Saturday, were organised by Harrogate Grammar School (HGS).

Pupils from Western, Rossett Acre, St Peter’s, Pannal, Oatlands and North Rigton primaries, as well as Prince Henry’s Grammar School in Otley took part in the opera.

The performances marked the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

Mr West played God, and local opera singer John Cunningham took on the role of Noah.

A HGS spokesperson said: “The two performances of Noyes Fludde presented by Harrogate Grammar School at St Wilfrid’s Church in Harrogate on Friday and Saturday were both given spontaneous standing ovations with the applause lasting for several minutes.

“The 200-strong cast made up of members of the community from age five years to 75 years performed at the highest level alongside professional musicians and internationally renowned actor Samuel West who played the role of God.

“The sellout audiences of over 300 people on both nights were themselves part of the performances being required to sing 3 hymns.

“Highlights of both performances included the procession of animals all of whom were wearing headpieces specially designed at HGS.

“Many of those who came to watch and to listen found the whole spectacle intensely moving.

“Many thanks to all those teachers who made this event so special.”

Samuel West is know for his role in Howards End, and performing on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Music Programme Leader at HGS Emily Segal dreamt up the idea to put on the performance.

Performing Arts Faculty Leader Lucy Vincent and drama teacher Natalie Poyser helped to bring the show to life.

And art students under teacher Sarah Rogers worked to produce 200 animal heads for performers to wear.

Headteacher Richard Sheriff said: “It was Emily’s idea and her inspiration.

“Without her, it would not have gone anywhere.

“She is a fantastic musician, she was a concert pianist before going into education.”

He added: “The masks took weeks for the department and students to prepare.”

See next week’s Harrogate Advertiser for more