Student performance not your convent-ional musical

21st January 2020

Get ready for a night of fabulous music and hilarious comedy brought to you by Stratford-upon-Avon College’s Musical Theatre and Technical Theatre students.

This month, the internationally acclaimed musical Nunsense will be performed on-campus at the College’s Gordon Vallins Studio. With music and lyrics by Dan Goggin, this international phenomenon tells the story of five nuns who, on discovering the convent’s other sisters have been accidentally poisoned by their cook, decide to fundraise to pay for their funerals by putting on a variety show.

15 Musical Theatre students will take to the stage over the show’s three-night run, with each performer cast for one night only in one of the original five roles. And in this adaptation of Nunsense, a sixth cast member will perform over all three nights as puppeteer, controlling the movements and voice of the hilariously entertaining puppet Sister Mary Annette.

Nunsense cast members
Nunsense cast members (left-to-right, top-to-bottom) Nicole Spragg, Ilyzee Boyd-Cox, Jennifer Alton, Madhuri Barba, Alice Colmer and Ashleigh Savage

Each of the students has been given a dual role, with every performer also being responsible for a particular production task.

Charlize Acunin, 17 from Banbury, plans to progress to stage school to study musical theatre. In addition to her on-stage role as Sister Mary Leo, the convent’s youngest novice who dreams of becoming a ballerina and devoting her life to God through dance, Charlize is the production’s assistant choreographer: “I love the challenge of always thinking up new dance ideas to contribute, while also focusing on my own individual performance.”

Natasha Smith, 18 from Stratford, plays the convent’s second-in-command, the feisty Sister Hubert, and also deals with the show’s social media promotion. For Natasha, whose ambition is to open a drama academy for children, taking part in a production like Nunsense helps to build confidence as a performing artist. “It brings out the best in us because there’s no one to fall back on in a small cast. By the end of it we’ll have grown as performers a lot.”

Nunsense is certainly a family affair. All backstage roles, including lighting, sound and set design are being carried out by the College’s Technical Theatre students. Namely Amy Pinfold as the production Stage Manager and Katie Bonehill as Set Designer.

Brad Martins, 18 from Rugby, is due to graduate from the College this summer and has already secured a dream job with Norwegian Cruise Lines’ theatre lighting and pyrotechnics team. As the production’s Head of Lighting and Lighting Design, Brad is responsible for everything from designing the main lighting rig – “there’s a lot of colour in the design I’ve chosen. I tried to make it stand out and visually ‘pop’ as much as we can” – to supervising the spot light operators.

The spirit of the show was neatly summed up by Charlize: “Nunsense is an interactive, hilarious musical experience for all ages. It relies on audience participation so we’re counting on a very vocal response from them!”

Nunsense will be performed on 29, 30 and 31 January at 7.30pm. Tickets are available for £10 from

Find out more about our Performing & Production Arts courses: SUAC Onstage courses