March 11th 2016
Student Scripts School Play
You would quite rightly expect students to be at the centre of a school production. However, it’s not every day that the play, a musical no less, is written by a student.
Cobham Hall’s upcoming production, ‘Starwalker’, was entirely penned by Year 12 student April, from the dialogue to the music and lyrics. Speaking prior to the show of the decision to ask April to write this year’s play, Head of Drama Ms Martin explained, “I was so impressed when I saw one of her previous productions that I asked her if she was interested in writing us a show. I knew from previous conversations that she wants to be a playwright for her career so I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to offer her first commission and help her on her way.”
Upon being asked, April recalls, “I burst into tears when Ms Martin asked me. I’d never been asked to do it before and no-one’s ever really acknowledged my plays. I’ve wanted to be a playwright since the age of 15. I wrote ‘Nowhere Express’ about a train ride to hell when I was 13 and a half, and it was when I was 15 that I realised there was a story within the song, and so I wrote a play around it. I’d really like to say thank you to Ms Martin for the opportunity.”
When asked to summarise the musical, April uses just four words – and that’s more than enough to pique your curiosity: “An Intergalatic Murder Mystery!” Explaining how this idea came to her, she simply shrugged, “It kind of just came to me. I started by thinking about what appeals to people, and crime shows always have high viewing figures, so I decided to put my own ‘April-spin’ on it and added elements of the supernatural and steampunk. The show is set in a futuristic theatre, where there’s a belief that a ghost – ‘Starwalker’ – is killing people. There’s lots of intrigue and different motivations that are uncovered as you meet the characters.”
With such an imaginative idea, you would be forgiven for thinking that the script and music would have taken a few months to write, giving that April was working on it herself. Yet for this budding playwright, it took just six weeks. “It took three weeks to write the script, and perhaps another three weeks the write and compose the songs.”
April says her main influences are Shakespeare, Plath, Poe, and Freud, and so we expect this original school play to be full of surprises!