Posted: Mon 17th Jun 2024

Flint High School: Student-written Musical based on true LGBTQ+ story opens next month

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

Hot on the heels of musical ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie,’ a cast of 24 from Flint High School are in rehearsals for a very special show written by two students and based on a true story exploring the issues and dilemmas facing the LGBTQ+ community.  

The idea for ‘JUST BE’ came about when students from the school’s extra-curricular musical theatre club were considering options for a showcase evening, sharing with friends and family what they had been doing in the club.

After the students drew up some ideas of a song list, Lewis Lowry, year 10, who previously played the lead character of Jamie, and best friend Leah Jones (a student who finished year 13 last year), worked together to create a script that would link the songs, and the beginnings of ‘JUST BE’ were born.

The central story focuses on two girls who discover their romantic feelings for each other but don’t feel that they could attend their school prom together, as real-life partners. 

Exploring a variety of complex narratives, the show also delves into several other significant themes including the challenges of bullying, the journey of self-discovery, and the inevitability of change.  

In addition to the cast of students ranging from year 7 to year 13, choreography is by Lelou Parsonage, and costume design is by Macey Bowden, both year 9 students.  Jack Collins, year 7, is the lighting technician and Isabella Lally, year 10, is head of the backstage crew.  All students involved in the show have worked on the set and props allocation/design. 

The show is a jukebox original musical with a total of 20 songs including ‘Shut Up And Raise A Glass’ from Moulin Rouge, ‘I Have A Dream’ from Mama Mia and ‘Grow For Me’ from Little Shop of Horrors, to name a few. 

Lewis said: “It’s an amazing opportunity for not just the cast, but for us as a creative team to explore the diverse story of ‘JUST BE,’ a LGBTQIA love story that breaks stereotypes.  As a company we feel it’s important to destroy the barrier of what a “gay” boy or girl looks like. We want to portray an appropriate story for a wide audience to come and enjoy whilst they learn, too. The vocals, choreography and script are beautiful. We hope people will enjoy an amazing story about being able to ‘JUST BE’ this summer.  It’s sure to be a treat.”

Leah, who is studying Musical Theatre at Edge Hill University, has been exploring community theatre which led to her involvement in the project and taking a lead in directing. 

She said: “Working alongside Lewis has been massively exciting as we both have had a lot of fun putting the musical together, from making sure the script was what we wanted to finding songs that fit the storyline. We both are extremely proud of what we have created and the amount of work we have put into this show. 

“When we began the writing and creation process, we didn’t realise how challenging it would be to ensure the storyline made sense, the characters were realistic, and the overall production was entertaining. 

“The ability to adapt the script has been incredibly helpful, allowing us to meet the needs of the students, especially those preparing for exams. This is the first time such a project has been undertaken at Flint High School, making it a significant milestone for everybody involved. 

“The support I have received from the school and the performing arts department has been phenomenal. They have been incredibly helpful with decision-making and have played a crucial role in bringing the production to life. I’m really looking forward to seeing ‘JUST BE’ hit the stage for the first time!”

Sian Holmes, acting head of expressive arts, has been impressed with the enthusiasm the students have shown for telling such an important and current story. 

She said: “I am so proud of the students’ commitment, creative thinking, and the safe space they have created in rehearsals. The maturity and leadership I have seen from our older students show just how dedicated they are to the project.  As a teacher, it has been interesting to observe the magic happen right before my eyes, seeing students leading the learning and supporting each other in making progress, including refining and editing work that they’d like to improve. 

“As an expressive arts department we encourage giving a voice through the means of creativity and performance, allowing all students to express themselves and their personalities, encouraging a safe space for all, and allowing them to be who they want to be.”

‘JUST BE’ runs for two nights, Wednesday 10th and Thursday 11th July. Doors open at 6:30pm with the show starting at 7pm.  Tickets are now on sale for £5 each from the school, please call 01352 732268.  

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