School’s drama of love across race divide

ACTORS at Downend School brought popular young adult novel Noughts & Crosses to the stage.

Malorie Blackman’s tale of love across a racial divide featured students from Year 9 to Year 13 both acting and working behind the scenes for the production over tow nights in February.

Year 10 pupil Eloise Green shared the leading role of Sephy, a government minister’s daughter in an alternative Britain and a cross who falls in love with a nought, as society tries to keep them apart.

Eloise said: “We have been rehearsing since October, and have put so much effort into making the show come alive.

“There was a whole team feeling, even across the age range, it was almost as if we became a family. 

“The cross costumes were very brightly coloured, and they contrasted to the noughts’ costumes, which were very drab and monochrome. This was to show the differences between the rich crosses and the poor noughts.

“We learnt stage fighting and used freeze frames in some of the scenes. We also had an opportunity to learn some of the tech theatre, such as lights and sound.

“The two show nights were spectacular and there was some great feedback from the public.”

Before the performances some of the Downend actors had a workshop with a professional theatre company called Frantic Assembly, after watching them on stage at the Bristol Old Vic.

Eloise said: “The workshop was very physical and we were all exhausted afterwards! However it was great to learn some of the techniques that they used on stage.

“It was very exciting to learn my part, although challenging as there were a lot of lines to learn and there were some scenes that at the start I wasn’t very comfortable performing.

“This experience has given me more confidence and has given me new friendships that I will treasure for life. Being in the play has made me fall in love with theatre all over again, after the musical theatre group that I was part of stopped in lockdown.”