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Big Fish Review from Mr Kitchin


I’m so very proud of the students involved in the North-West premiere of the new Broadway Musical “Big Fish” at Furness Academy. It has been a whirlwind process starting in October with initial auditions leading to an amazing run of three public performances. The students have dealt with the story of Edward Bloom’s life with sensitivity and maturity well beyond their years.

Edward Bloom, a travelling salesman, is renowned for his exaggerated tales and dynamic versions of his exploits. His son, Will, challenges his father to tell him the “real” version of events from his life. As Edward nears the end of his terminal illness and Will approaches the birth of his own son, they finally come to understand one another.

Ethan Neale, a Year 11 student, has taken the lead role and truly excelled in each performance. His singing voice is superb and he has tackled every acting challenge thrown at him with gusto. Jorgie Wilson, Year 11, and Neve Pearson, Year 10, both play the part of Edward’s wife Sandra; one as the present day version and the other in flashbacks of their story. Both girls have been outstanding in their dedication to the piece and really shine on stage. Jorgie, along with Joe Chubb, who plays Amos the circus ringmaster and secret werewolf, have both taken part in all five of the last school productions from Year 7 to 11. I will be sad to say goodbye to these students who have worked with us for so long; although I am sure we will see them again. Many of our previous stars of shows have returned as backstage crew once they have left school and carried on their education at Sixth Form, Furness College and even University.

The cast this year has been so supportive of each other and, despite being unfamiliar with the story, they have, as Will tells us “told the perfect tale”. It is such an exciting and inspiring musical that has really touched students and staff at the school. On Thursday night’s performance, the Mayoress of Barrow congratulated students on an Oscar-worthy performance. She promised to join us again for next year’s show.

Once again, the students and staff who work tirelessly to put the production together have raised the bar further this year.
We have been delighted at the audience responses each night with many claiming the show to be “the best school production” they have ever seen. Many of the students capture the essence of their character so well that in the poignant closing moments of the piece, much of the audience is struggling to stop the tears from flowing.

Due to the subject matter in the story, we have taken the chance to partner with St Mary’s Hospice and help raise funds for them with a nightly raffle.
As director of this production, and Head of Drama at Furness Academy, I am incredibly proud of all the students involved in our school production. They have worked tirelessly for the past few months, on stage and behind the scenes to bring this production to life and present a truly amazing show. My aim, as always, is to enable the students to excel, reach their potential and be part of an experience that will inspire them. Enjoy these moments, make the memories and remember every person in life can “Be the Hero”.

From Mr Kitchin