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QEGS Can’t Stop the Beat

Ella Feltham as dance show star Amber Von Tussle

Penrith’s Queen Elizabeth Grammar School has been transported back to 1960’s Baltimore by the school’s recent production of Hairspray.

Students made up the entire cast and most of the crew for the school’s version of the 2002 hit Broadway musical. Staff members, parents and special guests boosted the orchestra.

Aimee Ashurst (L) stars as teenage dance show hopeful Tracey Turnblad and Harry Chambers as Tracey’s mother Edna

Aimee Ashurst, who is studying A-Levels in philosophy, English literature and history, and hoping to study English literature at Oxford university, starred as ‘pleasantly plump’ teenage dance show hopeful Tracey Turnblad. She said: “I knew being in the show would be fun but it was even better than I expected. We became like a little family and it felt like we performed at a professional standard – largely due to Mr Roberts.”

Each of the four evening performances was sold-out to enthusiastic crowds and a Wednesday matinee was enjoyed by pupils from local primary schools.

Head boy Henry Marshall, who is currently studying maths, biology and chemistry and hoping to go on to read medicine at Newcastle, appeared as heartthrob Link Larkin. He said: “When you perform, it’s a rush. I haven’t played this kind of role before and my friends have been taking the mick but it’s been great and you meet new people and form new friendships.”

Head of Music, Mr Daniel Roberts, produced the show. He said: “It was unbelievable – a tremendous feat of effort on the children’s part, showing responsibility, self-discipline and all the wonderful things which QEGS students do to make productions happen. Working with some of the sixth form was more like working with members of staff than with students and the fact that so many of them have managed rehearsals around studying for their A-levels and applying for university is incredible. This production was a fine achievement and they should be proud of themselves.”

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