Acting students bring audience to tears with final performance

20th May 2022

Acting students from Stratford-upon-Avon College have performed for the final time, delivering a stunning final show as their course comes to completion.

Students on the Phat Swan Performance Company course spend a year working as a theatre company and get the chance to train and gain experience that will prepare them for drama school and beyond.

cast photo
The cast have spent a year together honing and developing their craft

The company of 7 came together for their final production called ‘Love Hearts’ which looked at friendship, family life and trying to follow your dreams. The two central characters were doubled up and when not performing, the actors would take on technical roles to support the show.

And what a show it was. The actors showed versatility and skill as they delivered well rounded and honest characters. The production showcased great emotional range which was juxtaposed with excellent comic ability; really demonstrating the incredible skill of these young performers.
Shannon Gillet showed real range as she played above her age as the mother, Viv. She began with real intensity when arguing with her onstage husband, played excellently by Gio Sondh.

Throughout the show you really felt sorry for her daughter Angela (played by Lorna Burgess) as Viv was cold, mean and distant (obviously due to the emotional trauma she had herself experienced). However, by then end, the loving and touching intimacy between mother and daughter was gorgeously delivered by Shannon and Lorna and brought audiences to tears.

Lorna’s performance should also be highly commended. Her growth from start to finish was incredible. Starting as young and naïve and ending with a wisdom beyond her years, her journey was delivered with incredible pathos.

As emotionally devastating and beautiful as this show was, it was as equally funny. Evie Slater Hughes as the larger-than-life best friend Maxine commanded the stage, never shying away from physical humour. Her relationship with Angela was honest and natural and both actors showed a true and believable connection.

Scroll through to see some photos from the show

The students are now moving on from the College to a range of different pathways. Shannon will be attending the University of Warwick to study English and Theatre, Evie attending UWE Bristol to do Performing Arts and Drama, Chloe Moore is attending Bath Spa University to study Acting, and Daisy Clarke will be studying Acting (Screen and Digital Media) at LIPA Drama School.

But not all are going straight into their next steps in education. Lorna is taking a year out to gain practical industry experience to prepare for drama school applications, Gio Sondh is applying for work in theatres and Ethan Prescott will be using their college experience to branch out into Events work.

The students have all had a great time on this course. Chloe commented: “It gave us a glimpse of how to work as a company.” Daisy added: “It was great to be in an environment where everyone had the same passion and love for the craft.” Evie enjoyed the cast dynamic: “Everyone was different so it was great to work in an environment like that as that is what you would find professionally.”

Acting lecturer Kerry Downing is extremely proud of the journey these young performers have gone on: “I think they have all been brilliant and learnt so much in the short amount of time they have had.”

Congratulations to all the Phat Swan’s and break a leg for all your future endeavours!

Find out more about the College’s Performing & Production Arts courses: SUAC Onstage