As part of her gap year activities, a former Ellesmere College student has recently written and directed a play which was performed this week in the Schools Arts Centre by a trio of Sixth Form students.

Catherine Wignall, who herself has performed in numerous plays at the School during her 9 years at Ellesmere College, chose Year 12 students to be the actors in her play called Imitation of Life. The play was performed in 3 acts and depicted the life and relationships of the character Charlie, played by Dominick Coppinger, his sister Sarah, played by Victoria Leadbeater and their friend Daisy, played by Charlotte Boffey.

The first act was set in a family kitchen in 1967, with Charlie and Sarah playing hide and seek and hiding together under a table. This was cleverly staged with a giant, outsized table and doorway helping us to believe that the sixth formers were young children.  Afraid of the dark, the dialogue between Charlie and his sister portrayed sibling relationships with wit and perception.   The writing demonstrated a remarkable ear for dialogue from a novice playwright. There was much laughter from the audience in Act 2, set in a bedroom in 1980, as Charlies first romantic encounter with Daisy, unfolded on stage.  The use of classic farcical elements as characters exited and entered the stage to find other characters in compromising situations was handled with precision and delicious comic timing.

The third act, 30 years on, was set in the sitting room of Charlie and Daisys matrimonial home and portrayed the challenges of communication and modern-day living, exploring the influence that partners can bear upon each other. The arrival of Sarah then depicted the tensions and complications of families and the managing of reconciliations following a period of non-communication between the two siblings.  These mature and adult themes were brought across to the audience by the fine acting of all three of the cast.

To calls of, Author!  Author! from the audience, the cast and stage hands encouraged Catherine Wignall to take the final bow to enthusiastic applause. Whilst the members of the cast will be continuing their drama at the College with House plays and an examination performance next year, Catherine will be starting her degree course at Warwick University reading English. She will be spending a few weeks this summer with the National Youth Theatre learning stage management techniques as well as visiting the Edinburgh Festival in August, where last year she worked as a PR and Lighting Assistant in the Pleasence Courtyard.    

Richard Boswell, Head of Performing Arts at Ellesmere College commented, Catherine has always had a passion for the stage and considerable talent for acting and directing.  I really feel however that she has found a possible vocation as a playwright.  I am delighted that through our Arena Arts Programme she was able to explore and develop her interest and her ideas.  This is a remarkable debut and we await her future pieces with eager anticipation.  Watch this space!

30th June 2010  Back to News