Stevenage special needs pupils’ production of School of Rock impresses actor from West End show

Cast members from the Valley School production of School of Rock pose with Alfie Parker, centre. Pho

Cast members from the Valley School production of School of Rock pose with Alfie Parker, centre. Photo: Valley School - Credit: Archant

Pupils at a Stevenage special needs school have been putting on a production of School of Rock so impressive that a member of the West End cast heard about it, and attended on Friday night.

The Valley School production of School of Rock. Photo: Valley School

The Valley School production of School of Rock. Photo: Valley School - Credit: Archant

Alfie Parker, one of the cover or ‘swing’ actors in School of Rock at the New London Theatre in Drury Lane, saw tweets about the Valley School’s production while they were in rehearsal, and got in touch to commend the students.

The show, based on the 2003 film starring Jack Black, features numerous rock standards and follows struggling rocker Dewey Finn as he disguises himself as a substitute teacher at a prim prep school and makes his pupils into a band.

Alfie called Friday’s show ‘amazing’ and tweeted out a photo of himself with the cast, adding: “Thanks so much for having me and rock on!”

Valley School performing and creative arts leader Flis Kirk told the Comet: “Alfie’s visit meant the world to our pupils. They were so excited to meet a West End star!

Cast members from the Valley School production of School of Rock with Stevenage mayor John Lloyd and

Cast members from the Valley School production of School of Rock with Stevenage mayor John Lloyd and his wife Joan. Photo: Valley School - Credit: Archant


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“Our pupils put on a brilliant show and they were bursting with pride to share their learning with a professional.

“The school being noticed and our cast’s extraordinary achievements being acknowledged by an accomplished professional was extremely moving, and made a huge impact on our pupils.”

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Alfie’s not the only high-profile fan of the show – Stevenage mayor John Lloyd also attended with his wife on Thursday night.

The production involved more than 60 young people, both on stage and backstage, and was attended by about 450 people over Thursday and Friday.

More than 100 pupils from other special needs schools – including Greenside and Lonsdale in Stevenage and Colnbrook in Watford – attended the community dress rehearsal.

Flis added: “Our pupils’ dedication, bravery and resilience has been truly impressive this year, as they have pushed and challenged each other to achieve their very best and share in each other’s successes.

“Barely did a rehearsal go by when the cast did not erupt in spontaneous applause at someone’s performance – it really has been a delight to work with such an amazing group of young people.”

To find out more about the school see thevalley.herts.sch.uk.

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