Students all set for African adventure

Lion King at Banbury Academy NNL-150630-143956001
Lion King at Banbury Academy NNL-150630-143956001

There will be magic in the air next week when pupils at Banbury Academy become among the first in the country to perform The Lion King Jr.

The performing arts department will be hoping this junior version of the award-winning Disney musical will repeat the success of previous sell-out shows.

Ben Coleman and Nikki Nunweiler have joined forces to co-direct and co-choreograph and said: “Every year we set ourselves and our students new and exciting challenges.

“The nature and style of the show has been an exciting and complex undertaking, but the students have well and truly risen to the occasion.”

Another key player in the preparations has been Jeanette Gee at Wacky Wardrobe, who has taken on the task of designing and creating more than 100 costumes ranging from the animals of the Pridelands, to the grass of the African plain.

The production features students from Year 7 through to Year 12, among them Luke Wetherill who plays the wisecracking Timon.

He said: “My first stage experience took place in 2013 when I played the role of Galileo in the school’s production of We Will Rock You and from that moment on I have loved performing.”

The performances run from next Wednesday, July 8, to Saturday, July 11, at Wykham Theatre, Banbury Academy, at 7.30pm each night, with a matinee at 2.30pm on the Saturday.

Tickets are adults £8 and concessions £6, on sale at Banbury Academy reception.

l Students also made their mark in the first year of the Orwell Youth Prize, which saw 15 schools from across the country take part.

Their efforts and Orwell’s influence were celebrated at a day-long event held on June 22 at Pembroke College, University of Oxford

Among the winners was the Academy’s Sam Hill, who wrote a politically-charged piece about the potential return of mining as a staple of the community. Lauryn Lambourne and Ella and Hannah Macey were also finalists.