Dickens' classic lives

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 May, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 27 May, 1997, 12:00am

Students at West Island School have breathed new life into the musical Oliver.

Adapted from the classic novel by 19th-century English writer Charles Dickens, this rags-to-riches story is also a statement about Victorian morality and the rigid class system of that era.

One of the largest productions staged by the school in Central, it featured 54 students aged between 11 and 17 when it was performed at the auditorium early this month.

Students from different classes pooled their talents, rehearsing for two months before the first performance in front of the school's primary students. A further three shows were open to the public.

'The purpose of the play was to allow all children across the age range to work together - those with a lower level of confidence can improve themselves,' said production team director Jane Foxcroft.

'Teamwork, such as backstage help, the orchestra and acting, also gives students a sense of responsibility and co- operation,' she said.

'Today some of the stereotypes of certain characters may jar somewhat with our modern ideals.' One of the student actors, 12-year-old Rosie Brown, said: 'Though it's hard work, it's great fun.' Sixteen-year-old Melissa Corlett said: 'I think the play, as well as other extra-curricular activities, play a significant role in school life as they offer an opportunity for us to develop ourselves. After participating in the various activities, people may become aware of potential which they had not discovered before.' Rory O'Neil, 16, said performing in Oliver had increased his confidence and taught him the importance of co-operation.

The youths said taking part in the play had allowed them to form friendships with students from different forms and they would continue to mix with the people they had met.

Meanwhile, West Island School also held its school fair this month at which students raised money for charity.

It featured a fashion show, stalls and various performances.