Raised to even higher levels after hearing that Andrea Riseborough, and former NHSG pupil, has been nominated for an Oscar, the NHSG cast, musicians and staff delivered a stunning and powerful performance of this epic musical staged in our performing arts venue on Thursday 2nd February – Saturday 4th February.
This much loved musical, written by Claude-Michel Schönberg, Alain Boublil, Jean-Marc Natel and Herbert Kretzmer and based on a novel by Victor Hugo, is well known as a challenging production for cast and musicians as well as for the audience as they follow the lives of the characters who capture hearts from their first appearance on stage.
The story of Les Misérables, set in France in the early 1800s, follows the character of Jean Valjean, who is released from prison after serving a nineteen year sentence for stealing a loaf of bread to feed his starving niece. He breaks parole and goes about creating a new life for himself, seeking redemption as he evades the police inspector, Javert. The musical climaxes in the Paris June Rebellion of 1832.
In partnership with Gateway Studios, around 60 pupils from across Senior School brought the story to life in three phenomenal performances. Mrs Dobson, Head of Drama and Director of Les Misérables said: “This has been the most challenging musical we have produced to date. Les Misérables teaches us about the power of love. We see through Jean Valjean, the transformative power of love and how it can inspire individuals to make positive changes in their lives and in the world around them.
“Most importantly, I think, it teaches us about the human spirit. Les Misérables shows how people can rise above adversity and find hope and strength in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. I think this fabulous company of actors and musicians are the greatest example of the human spirit. Their tenacity, perseverance and stamina make this one of the most memorable productions I have had the pleasure of working on.”
Mishka in Year 12, was just one of a superb line up of acting and singing talent on stage and explained why she loved playing police inspector Javert, who pursues Valjean relentlessly; she sticks up for his character eloquently.
“He’s seen as the villain, but I don’t think he’s a villain in the traditional sense. He’s a complex character with a strong moral compass. The hero, Valjean, was a criminal so it’s interesting to explore the sense of right and wrong we’re offered in the show.”
The powerful music score was at the heart of the NHSG production and Maia in Year 13 had the opportunity to accompany the orchestra of professional musicians on the trombone.
“Playing alongside professionals is really great because with their experience they can help you,” she said.
“Practising on your own, it can sound a bit weird playing a couple of bars and then resting, but when it came together with the vocals it sent shivers down your spine.”
The acting, choreography, music and staging were outstanding and there wasn’t a dry eye in the house by the end of the show as the pupils brought the 1,100 plus audience to their feet night after night for a very well-deserved standing-ovation. Here’s what some had to say:
“A truly spectacular show – best I’ve ever seen! Epic, uplifting and amazing.”
“I was literally blown away by this. It was the most amazing show I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen the professional one!). In awe of the talent on stage. Outstanding.”
“An incredible performance. Very talented singers but an amazing orchestra too. I can’t praise them enough.”
With the music and words of ‘Do you hear the people sing’ still echoing in our minds, we are very proud to say that The Arts are thriving here at NHSG.