Interview with our ‘School of Rock’ Assistant Director

As the Helsby High production of School of Rock the Musical debut awaits, we met with Assistant Director Iona A, who gave us insights and sneak peaks into what is going to be our greatest production yet!

We asked Iona; what are your responsibilities as an Assistant Director?

Iona explained that her role is better than what she initially envisioned; “Originally, we thought that we would just give advice on scenes occasionally. However, Mrs Ratcliffe has allowed us to take on even more responsibility by having us direct 3 big songs in the show- You’re in the band, Stick it to the man and Time to play- as well as also attending rehearsal twice a week. Me and my Co-Assistant Director Abi have enjoyed coming up with exciting plans for numbers in our free periods and enjoy, even more, watching the incredibly talented cast bring our ideas to life.”

Next, we asked Iona if she has found anything challenging about bringing the script to life, to which she responded;

“The script was obviously written for a professional production so we are trying to get as near to that level as possible. School of rock is set around the New York City area so all the cast are putting their best attempts of American accents up on stage. This was tricky whilst looking at the script because a few lines didn’t quite make sense in a British accent, however we have definitely overcome that barrier.”

We were keen to get inside information about the upcoming production, and so asked Iona; Are there any standout moments in the show?

Iona excitedly told us, “Each cast member is so amazingly talented and really bring their characters to life in their own unique way. However, my favourite parts of the show is when they all join together to create stunning ensemble pieces that put a smile on your face and make you realise how wonderful this opportunity actually is. A special mention has to go to the band though as it is truly incredible to hear music played to such a high standard throughout the show.”

Iona has performed in school productions during her time in KS3 and KS4, but with moving to KS5, and having a very different kind of role in the production, we were keen to know how Iona has managed directing alongside her A Level studies. We asked Iona; How have you found managing directing whilst studying for your A levels?

Iona told us this hasn’t proved difficult; “If we ever had a big part to play in a rehearsal we would know at least a week before hand. This way it let Abi and I plan scenes when we had plenty of time and were not rushing. In sixth form, we get free periods so it was easy for us to decide that we wanted to spend some of them coming up with ideas for the production.”

We then asked Iona what her favourite musical was of all time, to which she said;

“I grew up in a very musical family so would like to think that I am quite diverse with my knowledge of musical theatre. My favourite musical is probably ‘Newsies’ as I think it is completely different to most other shows. It has a heavily male lead cast but also contains entertaining and complicated dance scenes which are mind blowing to watch.”

We concluded our interview by asking Iona her plans for Musical Theatre for the future; Do you want to pursue performing arts as a career or a hobby?

Iona told us, “In the future, I would like to keep musical theatre as a hobby because it is an escape from whatever is going on in life and is also just such a fun thing to get involved with.”

Iona encourages everyone who is interested in and excited by Musical Theatre to get involved, and says she can’t wait for you all to join her and all the cast at one of Helsby’s upcoming School of Rock shows!