“In one fell swoop” the cast and crew of the pre-IB and IB production of Macbeth cast a spell over their audience, delivering a series of universally praised performances at the newly re-opened Byre Theatre in St Andrews. Several hundred patrons attended the play over its three-night run – providing an excellent conclusion to months of planning and rehearsals.
The challenge faced by Nickie Ledger, Director of Drama at St Leonards, was how to make a play from the early 1600s relevant for a group of internationally diverse teenagers in 2015? For inspiration, she turned to Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta graphic novels, written in the 1980s and set in the 1990s. This allowed the student cast representing the UK, Germany, Russia, China and Ukraine, to explore the play’s themes – the thirst for power; the struggle of good against evil; one man avenging the death/treatment of others; the downfall of a corrupt society – within a modern setting intended to mirror some of today’s political climate.
For Ilia Sigaev (Banquo), the experience was ‘so exhausting but also a dream come true’, while Padraic Riddle (Macbeth) asked ‘Who would have known Shakespeare could be so much fun?’ Dr Carslaw, the Headmaster, praised the production as ‘a truly extraordinary experience, from a terrific international cast’, adding ‘it makes you really think about some universal themes. Loved the set and staging, too – so imaginative!’ Mrs Ledger enthused that even after twelve years of creating drama at St Leonards, she continues to be blown away by the depth and breadth of the drama talent in School – and the audiences agreed!