Downing Street invite for budding young performers

East Preston Junior School teachers and pupils visited 11 Downing Street as part of the Shakespeare Youth Festival. Teachers Judith Crouch Algorta and Sue Tabor with year-six pupils Daisy Cross and Annabel Fincham. Pictured outside 10 Downing Street.

East Preston Junior School teachers and pupils visited 11 Downing Street as part of the Shakespeare Youth Festival. Teachers Judith Crouch Algorta and Sue Tabor with year-six pupils Daisy Cross and Annabel Fincham. Pictured outside 10 Downing Street.

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TWO pupils from an East Preston junior school performed at 11 Downing Street as part of a festival celebrating Shakespeare.

Annabel Fincham and Daisy Cross from East Preston Junior School were accompanied by their teachers when they performed extracts from Julius Caesar last Tuesday.

The event celebrated the Shakespeare Schools Festival, the largest youth drama festival in the UK.

The school, in Lashmar Road, originally put on its version of Julius Caesar at the Alexandra Theatre in Bognor, in November. The show was described by Shakespeare Schools Festival co-ordinator Francesca Ellis as being “an entertaining and truly unique retelling. It was fun, energetic and joyful, and the whole cast were clearly having such a fantastic time”.

Following the performance, the show’s teacher-directors Judith Crouch Algorta and Sue Tabor were invited to bring two of the cast members to help showcase some of the work of the festival by performing to an audience of 100 supporters, patrons and trustees at Downing Street.

The event was attended by the Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, and Sir Nicholas Hytner, former director of the National Theatre.

Annabel, 11, who played Mark Anthony, said: “It was really exciting being inside Downing Street. I felt so honoured to be there.

“It was nerve-racking performing in front of all those people, but once I’d made eye contact and got through ‘Friends, Romans and Countrymen’, I knew I’d be fine.”

Daisy, 10, who played Brutus, added: “It’s mind-blowing to think that I had a chance to perform in front of allthose well-known people. The whole experience has really helped my self-confidence.”

Director Judith Crouch Algorta said: “We all felt that it was a huge privilege to be involved in the event. Of course, the iconic setting already made it a thrilling experience; however, the biggest buzz of the day was being in a shared space where people were celebrating creativity, diversity and the incredibly empowering relationship which our young people can have with the words of that bloke who died 400 years ago.

“We were so proud of our students, and seeing them perform with such confidence and conviction as part of an inclusive company, in front of a high-profile crowd in such a setting was truly awe-inspiring.”

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