It was a privilege to be invited to a special performance on Thursday given by Chichester Festival Theatre’s Youth Company in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen. In addition to the large number of Bishop Luffa pupils taking part in the performance, 60 pupils and staff were invited to join the audience.
Ten pupils from each Year group had been chosen for their courage in overcoming difficulties and for their contribution to the school. Bright and brilliant weather was perfect for their quietly excited walk to the Theatre.
Inside, we enjoyed watching the Company for Beauty and the Beast being put through their warm-up exercises, but it was nervous enjoyment when the choral coach turned on us to join in.
Then quiet descended and excitement rose, and suddenly we all stood and applauded enthusiastically as Her Majesty arrived and made her way to her seat. She looked keen-eyed and walked without an aid.
After a display by a squad of marching soldiers whose military discipline metamorphosed into cheeky dancing, Evie Carter (Year 11), acting as compère for the performance, introduced us to an elephant, the grotesque but gentle Beast of this year’s Christmas show, and Omid Djalili as Tevye from this summer’s sell-out Fiddler on the Roof. Finally the whole company sang a chorus from ‘Beauty’.
To delighted applause, Her Majesty took her leave, and just before the exit, she turned and waved directly at the Bishop Luffa pupils who were seated below.
It was a memorable occasion.
Pupils will be putting together an article shortly giving their thoughts on the whole day.