All aboard for a school trip like no other

Berwick Acadamy's cast of 'Out Day Out'
Berwick Acadamy's cast of 'Out Day Out'

The Easter holidays might be coming to an end but Berwick Academy pupils aren’t quite ready to go back to their desks just yet.

Instead they’re bringing Willie Russell’s ‘Our Day Out’ to The Maltings stage next Thursday and Friday.

And it’s not the first time the school has tackled one of the Scouse author’s works, with the older pupils who make up BAC Stage productions impressing with their take on ‘Blood Brothers’ in the winter.

But now its time for the whole school to get in on the act with a cast spanning years 9-13 ready to do the business.

The story of ‘Our Day Out’ is quite a simple one involving a bus load of inner city children going on a coach trip to a castle in Wales. However their excursion is given an extra boost by their teacher who takes a de tour via a zoo on the way there and a funfair en route home.

Director and teacher Paul Brooke said it was the ideal script for the enthusiastic young ensemble, adding that he was really pleased with how they’d gone about their task.

And Mr Brooke was himself an inspiration to year 13 pupil David Robson who is playing the part of teacher Mr Briggs.

“It’s quite funny having to shout at the people who are playing the children, some of them are my friends and I’ve got to try not to laugh,” he commented.

“I’ve been watching Mr Brooke and seeing how he gets our attention or gets us to be quiet.”

“My character is the polar opposite,” Megan Smith aka Mrs Kay told The Guide.

“She’s very ditzy so we’re quite a good combination.

“Along with the other year 13 cast members this is my last production with the school so I think it’s going to be quite sad when it all comes to an end.”

Unlike David and Megan who will take their final bows for the Academy with ‘Our Day Out’, younger pupils like Emma Beveridge and Nicole Maven, who are taking on the roles of Jackie and Carol, are just finding their feet.

“It’s a really good play to do,” Emma enthused.

“One minute it’s really funny and the next it’s quite sad.

“My character goes through a lot of different emotions as the play goes on.”

“The only thing I’m a bit nervous about are our solos,” Nicole added.

“Both are quite emotional songs and we have the spotlight on us.”

Rather than follow the original script to the letter, the Academy version of ‘Our Day Out’ will centre the action on a school in Berwick. And to give it that extra degree of authenticity, the cast took their own trip to a zoo a few weeks ago, which they filmed.

“The use of multimedia worked really well for ‘Blood Brothers’ so we thought we’d try it out again,” Mr Brooke continued.

“The staging for the show is really simplistic. There’s not going to be any set just the children on white stools, so excerpts of film will help to tell the story.

“I wanted the focus to be on the pupils’ acting. They have been fantastic to work with.

“That’s one of the great things about directing. At the start all you have is words on a page but these kids have shown great commitment to bring this story to life.

“They’ve been in rehearsing during the Easter holidays and some of them are busy revising for GCSEs and A Levels.

“There are some real stars amongst the cast; some of whom I could see having big futures in theatre.”