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A level Drama students who performed their version of ‘Sweeney Todd’ at the Mussenden Temple recently - View Full Size Image
A level Drama students who performed their version of ‘Sweeney Todd’ at the Mussenden Temple recently
A level Drama students at Mussenden Temple preparing for their performance of ‘Sweeney Todd’ - View Full Size Image
A level Drama students at Mussenden Temple preparing for their performance of ‘Sweeney Todd’
20/02/2014 COLD-BLOODED MURDER BRINGS DRAMA TO A CHILLY MUSSENDEN

As their schoolmates were huddled in warm classrooms, a group of hardy A-level Theatre Studies students from Loreto College Coleraine braved icy conditions to put on a unique performance at the National Trust’s Mussenden Temple.

The stunning historical setting was the perfect backdrop for this outstanding group of Loreto College’s most talented students to stage their original drama performance, an integral part of their A Level examination. With a script which they had written themselves, under the guidance of Loreto’s Head of Drama, Mrs Oonah McEwan, along with support from a group of Year 12 students, the sixth-formers put on a piece adapted from Sweeney Todd, the gruesome Victorian murder story. Ben Levy accompanied on the piano from Stephen Sondheim’s musical adaptation during the singing parts, risking frostbite in his fingers as he kept up the high quality of playing.

The students out-did themselves, excelling in dramatic performance. Rosanna McAleese delivered an intense performance as the tragic Lucy, victim of a life-wrecking wronging by an evil judge, played by the equally convincing Conor Anderson, whose wonderful singing echoed round the Temple. One could not fail to be moved by Fergus Kelly’s portrayal of Benjamin Barker, the anti-hero of the piece. Light relief was provided with superb comic touches from the excellent Olivia McCullough and Chloe McIntyre. The curved walls of the building provided the perfect acoustic atmosphere to compliment Rosanna and Olivia’s singing. The imaginative script combined with excellent singing and outstanding dramatic performance served to showcase the impressive skills and talent of the students.

Use of unique locations is a new departure for the College’s Drama department, and they are very grateful to the National Trust for their permission and support in using Mussenden Temple. The spectacular cliff-top location combined with the atmospheric interior of the folly gave the students an added lift to their performances, and made it a day to remember. The near-freezing temperatures endured for several hours will not easily be forgotten either, with the students showing admirable resilience while wearing flimsy evening dresses and lightweight clothing. In the end it was the drama that won the day, with outstanding performances from the examination students and excellent support from the Year 12s.