Horsham school could have Christmas play narrated by Stephen Mulhern and televised to millions

Stephen Mulhern with last year's winners Carlisle's Pennine Way primary school with their play 'Robin Hood Saves Santa'. SUS-190312-114226001
Stephen Mulhern with last year's winners Carlisle's Pennine Way primary school with their play 'Robin Hood Saves Santa'. SUS-190312-114226001

A school in Horsham could see its Christmas play taken from the school hall to millions of TV screens across the UK after being named as a national finalist in Virgin Media’s Christmas Stars competition.

If successful, Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee School will be joined by TV presenter Stephen Mulhern who will narrate the play in a one-off performance which will then be professionally filmed and televised to four million Virgin TV customers in the days leading up to Christmas.

The school could also win £5,000 and other prizes from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s West End show, School of Rock the Musical.

David Bouchier, chief digital entertainment officer at Virgin Media, said: “A huge congratulations to Horsham’s Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee School for being named as a finalist in our magical Christmas Stars competition.

“Its production has the perfect ingredients for a feel-good festive play which could be enjoyed by millions of Virgin TV customers this Christmas.

“Stay tuned to find out who will be our winner – good luck to everyone at the school!”

The play that the school entered into the competition, to find the UK’s best primary school play, is a twist on Charles Dicken’s classic novel, ‘A Christmas Carol’.

In this contemporary version, Scrooge is transported back to the time of the dinosaurs, workhouse orphans, as well a lunar visit to the Moon to meet aliens. During his journey, Scrooge is visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve who encourage him to change his ways.

In its entry, QEII School said they deserved to win because: “We present A Christmas Carol - with a twist! Why not send the grumpy Mr Scrooge back to the time of the dinosaurs and then to another planet?

“QEII School is a school who cater for students with profound and complex learning needs.

“Our students thrive through their creative arts studies and performances and come to life through their amazing and quirky performances.

“ What a joyous way to celebrate Christmas with our very special young people.”

Incredible prizes

As well as having its play televised, the winning school will receive unforgettable experiences thanks to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit West End show, School of Rock the Musical.

A class from the school will be invited to the show’s Gillian Lynne Theatre in London for an electric, rip-roaring performance masterclass from the cast.

Afterwards, the children will also be treated to tickets to watch the blockbuster show and see the talented cast in action.

To keep the Christmas spirit going, School of Rock the Musical will generously give the winning school ten ukuleles so they can strum their way into 2020.

The runner-up school will win £1,000 plus 15 ukuleles, while 22 regional finalists will win £100 and two ukuleles each.

A panel of judges including Stephen Mulhern and representatives from Virgin Media and School of the Rock the Musical, will preside over the shortlist and select the winner, runner up and 22 regional finalists.

Virgin Media will then film the school’s production and make it available, on-demand, to Virgin TV customers this Christmas.

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