Toy School

On Friday 23rd March, over 100 students from Withernsea High School wowed a capacity crowd at Bridlington Spa Theatre with their performance of a brand-new dance production.

Taking creative inspiration from a hit movie franchise, Teacher of Dance Jamie Hughes created and choreographed ‘Toy School’ – an original production which follows the story of two high school students who embark on a journey from bitter rivalry to best friendship. 

In the same vein as last year’s production ‘Into the Hoods’, Toy School similarly follows a narrative that takes its characters and the audience on an adventure through dance - creating a unique spectacle that is far from just an ordinary dance show.

Show creator Mrs Hughes commented: ‘I have been privileged to see so many students grow in confidence throughout our journey and they have demonstrated a real sense of community in their support of each other.'

'I have witnessed a fantastic display of teamwork, with new friendships being forged across different year groups, which ultimately led to a very impressive performance from our students.

'Well done to everyone involved and thank you for the support received from parents, carers, families and friends.'

'Experiences such as these help boost confidence and skills among young performers and the opportunity to perform in a real theatre is an exciting privilege which I know our students really appreciate.’
Rehearsals for the show began in late October 2017 after students from across the school worked hard to raise the money needed to secure the venue. Led by members of the Year 11 Dance class, a bag pack held at Tesco in Withernsea on Saturday 7th October yielded an impressive £350. Later that same month, around 50 students from across all year groups took part in a sponsored two hour non-stop dance-a-thon which raised the fantastic sum of £768.

Limited edition souvenir wristbands were also created and sold to students as a memento of their involvement and support of the show. Well over £1000 was raised in total with thanks to the generosity and support of the wider school community.
This year marked the fourth year in a row that the school has staged its annual dance show at the Spa Theatre. Initially planned as a one-off experience in March 2015, the success of that year’s show – combined with the synchronicity of the school’s main hall becoming unavailable due to the rebuild and refurbishment project – paved the way for the Spa performances becoming an annual event.

Former Headteacher Richard Williman was a great supporter of the show’s move to the Spa Theatre – having first given his blessing for the relocation there in 2015. Since then, the shows have gone from strength-to-strength with hundreds of young people being given an invaluable opportunity to perform on the stage of a professional venue. 

It was therefore fitting that on the evening of his last day as Headteacher of Withernsea High School, Mr Williman found himself watching the students of the school with pride from the front row of the theatre.

Addressing the audience at the end of the night, Mr Williman commented: ‘As a Headteacher, it’s moments like this that make me incredibly proud. It was an absolutely spectacular performance and one which could quite easily be seen on the stage of any theatre in any part of this country.

'In my time at Withernsea High School, I have been lucky enough to experience six years of outstanding performances and I know the students will carry these on in the future.'

Thanking the audience Mr Williman continued: ‘I would like to thank you all for the support you’ve given to me, to your children and to the school as a whole. Please do keep supporting these young people as they’re going to go places.'

Speaking directly to the cast, he added: ‘As we’ve said so many times before, you are just as talented as anybody else locally, nationally or internationally. You’ve helped put Withernsea High School firmly on the map and I’m grateful to you all for doing that. Keep doing what you do and I wish you all the greatest success in the future.'

The performance was initially scheduled to take place on Friday 2nd March. However, the extremely difficult decision was made to postpone the show only 24 hours before it was set to take place due to increasingly poor weather conditions being experienced in the East Riding area - caused by the weather front dubbed the ‘Beast from the East’.

Despite being clearly being disappointed, the cast took the news with great maturity and understanding. Bridlington Spa kindly agreed to a swift rescheduling of the event at no additional cost - a move which was greatly appreciated by the cast and the school as a whole.

We're sure all who attended agree that it was worth the additional wait to see what turned out to be one of the school’s best shows in recent history. 

The performance was professionally recorded and copies of the official DVD can now be pre-ordered from Mrs Hughes at the school for a token charge of £1.00. A short preview of the DVD can be seen here:

Please see below for a selection of photos taken throughout the performance: