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This week our Senior Section showcased what can only be described as outstanding talent in our summer production of Made In Dagenham. Every single cast member from Years 7 to 13 showed dedication, resilience, and determination to produce what was the most challenging (and best) show we have done so far at CSL. The pupils and students have been working incredibly hard alongside revision and other numerous other commitments to ensure that the audience were not disappointed, and they were far from it. Following three astonishing performances on Tuesday and Wednesday to peers and paying audience, the cast finished on a high in their fourth and final performance, to standing ovation and rapturous applause as the audience joined in the finale of Stand Up. This created an overwhelming and wonderful feeling of togetherness, further demonstrating our huge community spirit at CSL. As their Drama teacher, it was so heartwarming and emotional to witness this and hear such positive and reaffirming comments from audience members about how impressed they were with what they saw.

Cate V shone as the lead, Rita, and in her most demanding role yet, demonstrated her tenacity and ability to deliver rich nuance and a spectrum of emotion in her portrayal of the strong-willed mother to Sharon (played by Ava M and Sophia G) and Graham (played by Owen H) who challenged the status quo. Equally assured in his performance was Jaydan T, who played Rita’s husband Eddie; his ability to capture the endearing nature of the character, with a strong vocal performance was a joy to witness. A lovely feature of the show was its clever contrast of comic moments and serious, emotive scenes. Gracie B, Gwen M-O, Grace H, Maddie H and Emily H produced stellar portrayals of the aggrieved factory girls, each with their unique personalities, delivered with the perfect mix of comic timing and grit. It was wonderful to welcome back two of our Alumni, Wolfe Foy (2015-2022) and Louis Villard (2012-2022) who joined the Boys of Dagenham. We are so grateful to them for their contribution to the show and their involvement made such a difference to the dynamics of the show. Tommy S showed true diversity in several roles as Monty, Dagenham boy and Cortina man and his leadership of the younger male ensemble was inspiring. Patrick M in his role as Mr Hopkins was supported well by Danyal M and Sasha R, the Bourjois leaders of Ford UK. However, it was his interaction with his wife Lisa played expertly by Charlotte H which delighted the audience. The tension in their relationship perfectly captured with acute delivery made everyone chuckle. The audience were particularly enthralled by the comical portrayal of Harold Wilson by Joe P whose interaction with his competent aides, Owen H, Billy R and Sam W and Katy S in her strong and wilful characterisation of Barbara Castle, was hilarious.

Oli P came into his own as Tooley, the obnoxious American; with his epic rendition of This is America and guitar solo, he was a true ‘love to hate’ played with such confidence and flair. Henry G relished the role of Mr Buckton the patronising public school teacher, a delivery careful crafted, as always. Fionnon F, George H, Billy R, Owen H were fantastic as the Dagenham Boys and other roles, as were the ensemble girls who played a key role throughout. Well done to Grace B, Tanya N, Nina A, Pippa A, Brigitta S, Beth N, Sophia G, Ava M, Sofia V, Olivia C and Eve R, Charlotte L for their hard work and professionalism on stage. The show was made more fantastic by the amazing set, costumes, lighting (led by Jay D) and sound, most of which was provided by the fabulous band and led, expertly by Mr May. It was wonderful to have three of our students Sarah K, Nate R and Nathan C play alongside the pros.

Our backstage team was amazing, led by Mrs K Davies and Old Llandavian Jenna Tallant (2010-2021). Amy H and Megan T were so professional and supported our cast brilliantly. It was truly a fantastic show and we are so thrilled by the response from audience members and the pupils who had the opportunity to be treated to a matinee performance. We are already looking forward to our Michaelmas production which will be announced soon!