Success of Play is Not 'Hard to Swallow'
03 Jul 2017
A hard-hitting play about mental health was staged by students from Ashby School and helped to raise money for a mental health charity.
The play,. 'Hard to Swallow' by Mark Wheeller, was based on the true story of Catherine Dunbar who died as a result of anorexia nervosa. 'Hard to Swallow' is a new set text for GCSE drama.
In line with the school's target for enrichment, Year 10 GCSE drama students were given the opportunity to take part in rehearsals after school to put on a performance of this play.
All the students involved dedicated two evenings a week to rehearsals, working alongside a few A level students to help ensure the performance's success.
The play uses naturalism, surrealism, physical theatre and verbatim in order to tell the true and sad story of Catherine Dunbar.
Rebecca-Jane Mason, who directed the piece, has been based at Ashby School doing her School Direct teacher training course in secondary drama. Before that, she trained for four years at East 15 Acting School and has been in many performances as an actress. 'Hard to Swallow' was her first directed play.
Throughout the play, students had the opportunity to develop skills and knowledge in acting, rehearsals, physical theatre, movement, and fundraising.
This performance raised money for the charity, Young Minds, which promotes positive mental health amongst children and young adults and creates an awareness of mental illness, with a focus on breaking this taboo.
Miss Mason said: "The students did true justice to the play, creating a true and honest tone throughout. They were so professional and fantastic to work with.
"The standard of acting for a group of students doing GCSE was just phenomenal. They have raw talent and such potential. I have enjoyed every minute working with these students and shall miss them next year".
Ali Jackson, director of teaching and learning at Ashby School, said: "Miss Mason did a fantastic job of directing such a beautiful, professional production which showed Ashby theatre at its best."
One parent described the show as "Hard-hitting, beautiful and such a stunning performance".
Altogether, £265 was raised for the Young Minds charity.