East and West showcases young actors' talents in New Wimbledon Theatre show

Wimbledon Guardian: East and West: pupils from Ricards Lodge High School performing 'Royal Beats' at the New Wimbledon Theatre last night East and West: pupils from Ricards Lodge High School performing 'Royal Beats' at the New Wimbledon Theatre last night

Aspiring young performers from around the borough entertained hundreds of theatre-goers yesterday in a show inspired by the classic Broadway musical, West Side Story.

Directed and choreographed by West End professionals, eight drama groups devised and performed acts around the theme of conflict and resolution - topics thought by producers to be "as relevant in Merton today as it was in 1950's New York."

Interpreted differently by every group, Harris Academy Merton pupils kicked off the show with 'Deja vu', a comic dance-off drama between a hip-hop crew and their Latin-dancing rivals.

A darker interpretation of the theme followed with Up Town UK's powerful portrayal of a revenge killing rapped by gang members as they asked, will violence breed violence, or is there hope for change?

SMART Centre students premiered their impressively-edited film narrating the tale of two girls from 'East' and 'West', who use their dance moves to compete for the attention of the DJ, but eventually unite with their love of dance.

The audience was transported back in time to the First World War, with Cricket Green Special School's moving portrayal of a love story between a German nurse and English soldier brought together during the Christmas Day truce of 1914.

Performers from Harris Academy Morden, SHINE Merton and Ricards Lodge High School also chose themes of love and gang rivalry with entertaining performances showcasing students' dance talents.

A highlight of the night was a powerful dance telling a love story set in a gothic mansion performed against impressive cinematography by Perseid School pupils, a school for children with severe learning difficulties.

Christine Douse, a Wimbledon Civic Theatre Trust (WCTT) trustee said: "Seeing how the groups have come on is just amazing.

"I think it's all about working as a team. It's all people from different social backgrounds all working together on something and developing their social skills."

Wimbledon Guardian:

WCTT trustees Matthew Griffiths, Soo Bishop, Christine Douse and John Simpson with Deputy Mayor of Merton Councillor Laxmi Attawar

The show was financed by the WCTT, a charity which facilitates creative learning with education projects in Merton, improving access to performing arts for young people.

East and West was performed at the New Wimbledon Theatre at 2.30pm and 7.30pm on Tuesday, July 15.

To find out more about WCTT projects, visit wctt.org.uk

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