Baldock students stage tough tale of witchcraft and witchhunts

Arthur Miller's The Crucible at Knights Templar School

Arthur Miller's The Crucible at Knights Templar School - Credit: Archant

Bugsy Malone, Grease, a little respectful Shakespeare – the choice of play for a school production can tend towards the predictable. But at Baldock’s Knights Templar School, it’s a different story.

But at Baldock’s Knights Templar School, it’s a different story.

They’ve decided to follow up last year’s hit production of The Sound of Music with a dark and disturbing drama about witchcraft, penned as a thinly-veiled polemic against the Communist witchhunts in 1950s America.

Although Arthur Miller took the story of the 17th century Salem witch trials as the basis of The Crucible, it was quickly recognised as an allegory of the McCarthy era.

Miller himself was hauled before the infamous Committee on Un-American Activities and convicted of contempt for refusing to name names.


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The Baldock cast, which features students from Years 9 through to Year 13, aim to bring a fresh interpretation to the work, best known to many through the film version starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Winona Ryder.

Head of drama Andrew Sills said: “This is a dark play, a play that makes you question who you trust. It asks: How you can prove your innocence if everyone around you is set against you?

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“I am incredibly proud of the cast and crew. Yet again they are rising to the challenge of a theatre classic.

“The level of engagement and commitment is superb and I have enjoyed listening to the students discuss the characters’ moral dilemmas as we’ve rehearsed.”

The stage management team, made up of students, have been hard at work creating the set for this in-the-round production.

Year 12 student Barnaby Taylor, who has co-directed the fourth act alongside Mr Sills, studied the play during his GCSE English course.

He said: “I am a huge fan of Miller’s fast-paced dialogue and realistic characters, whose plight is still so relevant in our modern day society.

“Directing has been a challenge not only because of the intimidating nature of the text, but because we are performing in-the-round which, of course, presents its own difficulties. We are all very much looking forward to the performances!’

Headteacher Tim Litchfield said: “Students and staff have been working incredibly hard at the weekend and after school, as well as juggling their studies. I can’t wait to see the play.”

There are performances at the school at 7pm each evening next week from Tuesday to Friday.

Tickets are £8 for adults and £5 for students/concessions – email DramaBoxOffice@ktemplar.herts.sch.uk or call 01462 620700, but please note that the show is not recommended for children below secondary school age.

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