A Hartlepool secondary school with a track record of producing stars of the stage and screen is looking at ways to help even more students achieve big things in performing arts.
Manor Community Academy, a Northern Education Trust (NET) school, is aiming to provide the platform for more students to build on for years to come.
Manor has seen pupils such as Hannah Marram perform in show Singing in the Rain in Paris; James Pattison shine in My Fair Lady in Reading and Lewis McBean and Callum Rayment hit the stage in production Salad Days and big pantomimes respectively.
Current performing arts students at Manor earned rave reviews for their performances in their own pre-Christmas production of Alice in Wonderland.
Now the school is gearing up to put on production Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe as well as a dance show and choir concerts, which will take place in a state-of-the-art school theatre NET has invested in.
Manor’s head of drama Caroline Cole, who works closely with head of dance Sarah Savage, said: “Manor Community Academy has always had an excellent reputation for performing arts.
“This has largely come about due to the hard work of pupils and the staff who work alongside them but also the support of senior leaders, parents and the academy and wider community.
“We are fortunate that the level of support is continuing, if not increasing, now we are a part of Northern Education Trust and we’re hoping we can move the department forward with future musical productions, workshops and plays.
“We’re excited for what the future holds for our performing arts family.”
Manor’s performing arts students have regularly achieved above the national average in GCSE results.
There is a drive to help students become better people too after the launch of increased enrichment options and they are being encouraged to get involved in sport and extra curricular activities.
Year 11 student Georgia Ainsley, 15, was a Cheshire Cat in Alice and has previously starred in Oliver, Wizard of Oz and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Georgia who is studying for her GCSEs this year, said: “I took drama as an option and there has been a lot of support in the final year.
“The teachers are doing everything they can to ensure we get the top grades and there has been lots of intervention.”
Year 7 pupil Gabrielle Elliott, 12, was little Alice in December’s show.
She said: “I only used to go to music lessons for the flute, had never been on stage.
“I auditioned in my second week and got the part.
“It was something different and amazing, it was much bigger than I thought and we all worked so hard on it.”