For two nights in March students of Shoreham College transported their audience away from a cold English hall to the heat and spice of medieval Arabia. With the minimum of staging but just with lighting, music and excellent acting the pupils, aged only 11 to 16, evoked the magic of these classic tales.
"Arabian Nights", or "One Thousand and One Nights" as it was originally known, is a collection of stories of adventure, magic, tragedy and humour from the Middle East. The stories come from the 8th to 13th Century but many of them may be even older. The stories contain many of the most famous characters in the world: Aladdin, Sinbad the Sailor, Ali Baba. They also contain less well known stories that can thrill us even now as we meet them as new friends. The adaptation by Dominic Cooke is fast-paced, theatrical and magical. It allowed the students to become heroines and heroes; ghosts and magical creatures; fools and villains.
A large cast of over 30 pupils, with more involved in playing live music in the band and operating the lights and sound, worked together to ensure an exciting and colourful performance. The addition of live music and full-cast dance numbers added a bit of Bollywood glamour.
"This was a fantastic opportunity for these young people to learn more about stories that are so important to Middle Eastern culture. I was so pleased to see them take on board these tales in rehearsal and so successfully tell them to a new audience," said Andrew Hoggarth, the Head of Drama at Shoreham College.
The College also had a collection at the end of the show also raised a further £302 for the Anthony Nolan Trust, in memory of Amelia Leclercq who sadly passed away whilst at the College in 2013. This contribution will be passed on to Ella Scammell, a former pupil, who has been putting on fund-raising events and so far has raised £4,300. We salute her and our thanks go to our parents for their generous contributions.
Adapted by Dominic Cooke
Performed by the students of Shoreham College