Treasure Island

Tuesday 13 June 2023

Pirates took over the Creative Arts Auditorium for four nights in February to put on a stunning performance of the swashbuckling classic, Treasure Island.

A multi-level stage, a talking parrot, and sword fights to rival Pirates of the Caribbean were just some of the treats that awaited the audience, who came in their droves over the four nights. More than 60 students were involved on-stage, backstage and in the technical crew, and they truly excelled themselves, creating dramatic sword fights, physical theatre sequences, and outstanding pirates and aristocratic characters that enraptured the audience.

Sixth formers Amelie Cellini-Tweddle and Sarah Iceton led the show as Jim, narrating the story and then skilfully switching to become a character in it. Emily Jones was Black Dog – one of the most feared pirates, who wowed audiences with her dramatic sword fight over the Treasure map with Billy Bones, played by Elio Hysenbelliu.

Adam Arnold shocked us with his gravelly, threatening tones and his fabulous one-legged physicality in his role as the iconic Long John Silver. He was supported by his parrot, Captain Flint (Sid Bhandari), who provided comedic relief to contrast Silver’s darker role. The pragmatic Doctor Livesey was played by Isabel Verth and the slightly clueless Squire Trelawney by Benji Sweeney, and both of these were contrasted by the seaworthy and self-important figure of Captain Smollet, played by Joel Brown-King. James Weaver was also an audience favourite, playing the role of the psychotic and good-naturedly deranged cabin boy, Ben Gunn, whose quick thinking allowed the protagonists to emerge triumphant.

From the deadpan Grey (played by Adam Stephenson, who also assisted with the choreography of some scenes) to the unnerving George Badger (also played by Elio), every main cast and ensemble member who sacrificed their time made this a memorable and enjoyable experience.

For some of our student team, this was an introduction to the stage of Emmanuel College: both Year 9s and 10s made an impressive debut. For some older students – Amelie, Emily, James and Isabel – it was a final farewell, and we wish them all the best as they continue in their dramatic efforts.

Alongside all members of the cast, a big hand goes to Mr Metcalf and the technical team, Mr Wildgoose and his fabulous stage-building skills, all of the backstage crew for their indispensable work and, of course, to our three staff directors: Ms Wells, Mrs Breward, and Ms Mortimer, whose collective determination and commitment saw the cast and crew through rehearsals and technical run-throughs.

Head of Creative Arts, Ms Wells, said:

“At Emmanuel College, we are intentional about character education, seeking to create servant-hearted leaders. This is in full force backstage, where character education and servant leadership are very much at their best. The show is created by staff and students; however, since Monday night, it has been theirs! The Stage Manager (Sophie Jones) is in charge, the cast organise themselves, reminding each other of cues, the stage team organise the scene changes, and the staff team provide support if we are needed – which we rarely are. Things go wrong, of course, but they sort it, respecting the hierarchy of student leadership. It has been a joy to behold and a learning experience for life for those involved!”