Everyone’s favourite ogre visited Durrington last week as students performed ‘Shrek the Musical’.  

32 students from Avon Valley Academy took to the stage for four performances, supported by a further 15 students backstage. 

Shrek the Musical is based on the popular Broadway stage musical.

The story follows the ogre Shrek, as he leads a cast of fairy-tale misfits, including a talking donkey and run-away gingerbread man, on an adventure to rescue Princess Fiona, save his swamp and find true acceptance. 

Salisbury Journal: Shrek (Jacob Read) and Donkey (Zach Smallwood). About to perform Travel SongShrek (Jacob Read) and Donkey (Zach Smallwood). About to perform Travel Song (Image: Acorn Education Trust)

Under the direction of Mrs Sue Shepherd, Head of Creativity, the adaptation was brought to life by a cast of students keen to showcase their abilities and dedication. As it was a community event, every student who wanted a role had one; from sourcing props, developing costumes and preparing technical equipment off-stage, to singing, dancing and acting on stage. 

Mrs Shepherd said: “I am delighted that so many of our students were able to be part of our Christmas production of Shrek the Musical.

"From the very first beginning, each and every student poured their heart and soul into the musical, showcasing their talent, hard work and dedication. I am so proud of them all!”  

Zach Smallwood, Year 11 student, added: “It was an exciting experience – as soon the team came together, we just gelled like a family. We all wanted to put on the best production possible and we did!” 

Penina Namata, also year 11, took on the challenging role of Princess Fiona.

She said: “It was great watching everything come together, especially seeing the younger talent flourish. We all felt comfortable together, and showed a lot of resilience despite the many obstacles we faced along the way.” 

Since September, students have rehearsed weekly to prepare for their end-of-term performances, all of which were staged in the school’s main hall and featured custom-made costumes.  

Miss Abby Lucas, Dramatic Director, said: “It was incredible to see each student have the opportunity to shine.  

“Over the past few weeks it has also been wonderful to see and hear pupils, who weren’t directly involved in the show, showing their interest and offering luck and support to their peers.” 

A special preview show took place earlier in the week to an invited audience of local primary school students was followed by three evening performances to friends, family and the wider Durrington community.  

Louise Hamilton, Avon Valley Academy Headteacher, added: “It would be impossible to choose a stand out moment from the show; the students gave it their all and I couldn’t be prouder of them.  

“I would like to thank all of the students and staff who made these performances possible. It simply would not have been possible to bring this musical to life without everyone’s involvement, as every single role was so important and all contributions have made it a huge success. 

“Our students have been a testament to our school values of ‘Respect. Determination. Excellence.’ and have demonstrated the wonderful creativity that flourishes in our school.”