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We Will Rock You, by Ilfracombe Arts College at the Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe, will prove to be quite a spectacle, writes Tony Glynn.

By North Devon Journal  |  Posted: February 07, 2013

By Tony Glynn

  • Ilfracombe College - We Will Rock You

  • Ilfracombe College - We Will Rock You

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MUSIC has died, swallowed up by a consumerist society ruled by the Killer Queen. The rock legends of the past are all but forgotten and all seems lost. Who, if anyone, can return the world to its former glory? Enter our two heroes: Scaramouche and Galileo, teenagers and lovers on a valiant quest.

If that outline seems familiar, you will have seen or be aware of Ben Elton's hit musical We Will Rock You, based on the music of Queen. Well now it comes to Ilfracombe's Landmark Theatre, brought to an eager public by the students and staff of Ilfracombe Arts College.

Around 70 students, including a 41-strong cast, have laboured to create a two-hour production complete with lavish sets, loud costumes and a sizzling soundtrack. The show involves pupils ranging from Year 7 to 13 and draws on the strengths of different departments, such as drama and music, and has nurtured, in the words of head of drama Emma Stannard, "a camaraderie that defies age and social groupings".

"The arts in schools are under threat," says Emma. "Yet experiences such as the whole school production give students a chance to express themselves and gain experience in a professional environment.

"Many of the principal characters have ambitions to follow a career in entertainment as an actor, dancer or musician. As an arts college it is important for us to be able to showcase the talent we nurture at the school and allow for the different art disciplines to work together."

The performance is the school's third at the Landmark after Charlie And The Chocolate Factory in 2009 and Oliver! in 2011. Together with Jo Peacock and Abby Constant (from the music department), Karen Wickes (art department), Carl Schwarz (drama) and Debbie Schwarz (dance), Emma is building a strong team that hopes to stage a show every other year.

But how relevant is Queen's music to the youth of today?

"Queen are timeless and many of the messages still hold true," says Emma. "Music their parents have grown up to and which has formed the soundscape to their own childhoods has more meaning once they have explored it in this way. It leads to a greater appreciation of music from the past."

Luckily, classic rock and pop music has not been eradicated from our world and Kelsey Charlesworth and Jacob Overney, who play Scaramouche and Galileo, will be free to follow burgeoning careers free from the tyranny of the Killer Queen (Carla Morgan).

Paul Swailes, assistant head teacher, added: "I would like to thank all those students and staff who have worked so hard. I would urge everyone to book their seats as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. Please come along and support live theatre and young people in our area."

We Will Rock You is on February 8 and 9 at 7.30pm. Tickets: £6 (adult), £4 (concession) £17 ( family) 01271 863427, e-mail admin@ilfracombe college.devon.sch.uk or the Landmark Theatre.

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