The Gielgud Academy of Performing Arts (GAPA), based at the Hub in Haywards Heath, presented its end of year show Motion Pictures at the Chequer Mead Theatre, East Grinstead.
The show featured all 250 pupils ranging from ages five to 18 with all the dance and musical theatre numbers reflecting the theme of film.
The finale was a specially-commissioned ballet called The Silver Screen, which was inspired by Woody Allen’s film The Purple Rose of Cairo. The piece was a multimedia presentation combining ballet and live jazz played by the GAPA Band and film, which was directed by GAPA principal Suzanne Gielgud.
During the prize-giving ceremony afterwards, British ballet legend and GAPA patron Dame Beryl Grey told the cast: “There was such joy in your faces that I wanted to come onstage and dance with you.”
Dame Beryl presented the ballet prizes to the pupils with the senior ballet medal going to 16-year-old Isabel Summers from Worth. Also presenting medals to the highest achieving pupils was EastEnders TV star John Partridge, recently seen playing the lead role of Zach in A Chorus Line in the West End.
John, who also played Rum Tum Tugger in Cats (the motion picture and the West End show) told the cast and audience: “Being here tonight makes me feel very humble to see all of you at this wonderful school that Suzanne and Piers (Gielgud) have created. I welcome you all to this wonderful world of showbiz that I’m still in and I can’t wait to see all of you stars of tomorrow on the West End stage with me in the not-too-distant future.”
John also presented the David Wall Boys Ballet scholarship to nine-year-old Isaac Mack from Hayward’s Heath. David Wall, a star of the Royal Ballet and one of GAPA’s patrons, passed away in 2014, and an annual scholarship has since been awarded in his name to help gifted boys progress through the school.
GAPA’s artistic advisor Sue Passmore, an examiner for Trinity College and council member of Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD), told the audience: “The score for any show like this is the absolute crux of it. It’s where it all starts and there was such an arrangement here of the most wonderful music from classical to pop to MT, as well as live music.”
She congratulated Suzanne Gielgud the growth of the school: “You’re four years on (the school was created in 2011) and you’re triple the size you were and I’m still seeing the advances that you’re making.”
Saffron, lead singer of rock band Republica presented the Gielgudian award to the GAPA graduating students who are all going to further their professional careers at some of the UK’s leading full time performing arts colleges and universities. 18-year-old Angela Ramsay from Horsham goes to the Laban Conservatoire; GAPA head boy James Furnell from Lindfeld goes to Bird College of Performing Arts, London; 16-year-old Charlotte Weller from Hayward’s Heath and 16 -year-old Louis Wallond form Burgess Hill are going to the Brit School; 19-year-old Phil Bashford from Horsham leaves for the London Studio Centre; 17-year-old Saffron Shaw from Crowborough and 17-year-old Opal Weaver from Sevenoaks are off to Ballet West in Scotland and 13-year-old Casper Mott form Hartfield joins year nine at the Tring Park in Herfordshire.
GAPA begins its new term at the Hub on September 8.
Anyone interested in auditioning for the Gielgud Academy should go to www.gielgudacademy.co.uk for further information or call 01444 451977.
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