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Shakespeare Schools Festival

November 27th was performance day for the cast of Testbourne’s entry into this year’s Shakespeare Schools Festival. A steampunk version of ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ was about to get its first public showing.

The day started with a couple of rehearsals and then at midday we left the school and prepared for the first highlight - lunch at KFC! A well needed intake of sustenance that would keep us going throughout the day (that’s my excuse anyway). Tech and dress rehearsals were then held at our venue for the day – ‘The Lights’ theatre in Andover. The staff couldn't have been more helpful and the cast we well behaved. Entrances and Exits were ironed out, levels checked and everyone ‘found their light’ ready for the evening show.  

We then had a couple of hours to spare, so after watching the Dress rehearsal of Icknield school’s production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (and very good it was too), we had a bit of spare time before meeting back at six to find out the running order for that evening. Nerves were definitely starting to show (no bad thing) as we made our way into the auditorium to find out who was going when - we had the honour of starting the evening’s entertainment! 

Back to the dressing room for a last few notes and then to setting props in the wings. Nerves were definitely now kicking in and we had to wait until the introductory speech had been completed before the curtain went up! 

Any nerves then seemed to disappear as the students from Testbourne did themselves, and the school, proud with their rendition of ‘Much Ado’. An appreciative audience showed their approval with a fine applause and then it was time to relax. We watched Icknield perform again and then the Shakespeare School’s director gave a glowing appraisal of our efforts. 

All too soon it was over, and an elated cast made their way home. I would also like to mention that we had Nick and Elliot help with the filming (alongside Pete Hallmann), making a recording of our dress rehearsal. 

A huge well done to all the cast and a thank you to the Maskers Theatre Company who helped supply the costumes. 

Now, on to next year!!