Pupils shine in stage contest spotlight

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Students at Ripon Grammar proved they are stars out of the classroom after captivating audiences with a series of theatrical productions.

Pupils, aged 11 to 18, shone on stage as well as behind-the-scenes during the school’s popular annual drama competition, held over two nights.

More than 160 pupils from four competing houses took part in ambitious student-led productions of Matilda, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Alice in Wonderland and The 39 Steps, in the same week RGS was named Top state school in the North by The Sunday Times.

Performing in front of sell-out audiences of around 300, pupils from De Grey, School, Porteus and Hutton houses also faced a panel of judges made up of former RGS teachers Simon Naylor and Steven Rouse and former RGS student Rachael Sharpe.

Around 50 dedicated students, commended for the vital work they did out of the spotlight as directors, producers, set designers and technical and stage crew, all excelled in their roles.

Thanks to her magical stage presence in the title role of School House’s Matilda, 12-year-old Nia Peedell, from Bedale, won best actress.

Lower sixth former Alfie McEvoy, 16, from Ripon, who as the Mad Hatter helped bring Porteus House’s madcap Alice in Wonderland scenes to glorious life, won the award for best actor.

The De Grey team, who have gained a reputation for taking on challenging subjects, won best play award for their powerful and confident production of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

And the judges’ special award was presented to Hutton House for displaying ambition and vision in creating such a concise and seriously clever 45-minute production of The 39 Steps.