The great-great granddaughter of Charles Dickens, Mrs Marion Dickens, was guest of honour at the school’s Senior production of Oliver Twist last night.
Dickens’ Trust trustee and former pupil of the school, Mrs Dickens, praised the cast for ‘bringing a dark story to life’.
Retired publisher and Gad’s Hill School governor, Mrs Dickens, joined members of the Gad’s community to watch students from years seven to eleven tread the boards in the purpose built theatre, set in the grounds of the great author’s last, and favourite, home.
Mrs Dickens said: “The Seniors of Gad’s Hill put on a very impressive performance, bringing a dark story to life on a plain stage with the minimum of props.
“Scene followed scene at a fast pace, simply using darkness and light, and Director of Music, Mr Stone’s piano accompaniment.
“The timing of the production was impeccable. Every actor was in the right place at the right time – every time. The stark economy on the stage made a story rich in character and drama extremely vivid and effective.
“It was exciting to watch, and I think Charles Dickens, who was a superb actor himself, would have been most entertained by it.”
While the leads were played by GCSE drama students, actors as young as 11 took on supporting roles.
Head of Drama, Ms Polly Bissett, who directed the play, received a standing ovation at the encore.
After, Mrs Dickens spent time talking with the students about Dickens’ works and their own acting and career aspirations, before they were congratulated by members of Higham Active Retirement Association, who in the words of Chairperson Mrs Elizabeth Jeffrey, ‘never miss a Gad’s show!’.