Students secure supporting roles at Gala performance

Performing Arts students from Bishop Auckland College are looking forward to a classic ballet at Durham’s Gala Theatre this weekend.


But they won’t be watching from the sidelines…after securing supporting roles on Durham University Ballet Company’s production of Coppélia!

The classic ballet follows the story of young couple in love, Swanhilda and Franz, and the mysterious Dr Coppelius who has created life size doll Coppélia and tricked Franz into thinking the doll is a real girl, with whom he becomes infatuated.

Swanhilda overcomes her jealousy to save Franz from the clutches of Dr Coppelius, who is intent on bringing the doll to life. There is great celebration in the town following Franz’s rescue and the ballet ends with the spectacular Festival of the Bell, as Swanhilda and Franz are married.

Set to Leo Délibes’ enchanting score, the production is billed as a “joyful spectacle of dance celebrates the triumph of good over evil” with mechanical dolls, a grand mazurka and the elegant Waltz of the Hours, all performed with a live orchestra.

Nine of the college’s Performing Arts students were selected after successful auditions to support the cast.

Megan-Anne Kirsopp, Logan Priestley and Sarah Ward are all studying on the Higher National Diploma, Jordan Cooke and Courtney Lister are second year and Amelia Clayton and Grace Turner first year Level 3 Diploma students. Caitlyn Lawton is studying a Level 2 Certificate in Performing Arts and Sam Johnson is studying Level 1.

The students spoke of their delight at being given such an opportunity.

Sarah said: “Although I am feeing nervous I am excited to be part of this production and I am looking forward to gaining more experience in the performing arts industry.”

Caitlyn added: “I am excited to have the opportunity to perform at the Gala Theatre as this will give me a real insight into my future career aspirations and opportunities.”

Course co-ordinator and tutor Rachael Stewart said: “I am thrilled that the students from Bishop Auckland College have been given this opportunity. Participating in the supporting roles will provide an invaluable enrichment experience that will help them to develop, progress and gain new industry knowledge and skills.

“I am very proud of them all. They have all worked so hard this year and I am sure it will be a wonderful performance. We are very grateful to the DU Ballet Company for the opportunity to support them in their production and wish them all every success.”

The DU Ballet Company will perform Coppélia at the Gala Theatre in Durham on Saturday June 17 and Sunday June 18. There will be evening performances on Saturday and Sunday as well as a Sunday matinee performance. The performances will be raising money for the Girls Friendly Society.

Tickets costing £12.50 (£8.50 concession and £7 under 16s) are available from the Gala Theatre box office at