Student returns to tread boards

A SHAKESPEARE text sprang to life for pupils at one Tynemouth school in a fast-paced production.

Northampton-based ‘Alter Ego Theatre Company’ entertained more than 80 Year 9 students at The King’s School in their version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ followed by an interactive workshop with stage combat techniques.

Four actors performed a one hour version of Shakespeare’s love story in the King’s School Drama Studio, amazing pupils and staff with their use of props, minimal staging, quick costume changes and even quicker role changes.

Not least among the surprises was the appearance of Romeo who was played by a former pupil Lawrence Swaddle.

After completing A-levels at King’s in 2008, Lawrence spent a year with a drama company in Stratford then began a degree in Drama at Northampton University during which time he was offered work at The National Theatre in London.

Subsequently, he has chosen to take a year out of his university studies to fulfil a number of acting opportunities.

Lawrence, 21, said: “It was fantastic to be back at King’s where I first trod the boards and it was great to meet many of the teachers who helped me to discover my passion for drama.

“The drama studio was a good venue and the audience knew the play and participated well.

“They asked lots of questions about theatre work in general and the life of a touring actor which kept us on our toes.”

Teacher Irene Nicholson added: “Alter Ego highlighted the key issues within a divided society as well as the personal trials of two young people forced to hide their feelings for each other.”