Film ID: NEFA 20978 Video of NEFA 20978 Hebburn Clegwell Boys Modern School HEBBURN CLEGWELL BOYS MODERN SCHOOL 1952 Visitor TabsDescription An amateur film produced by staff and pupils of Hebburn Clegwell Boys Modern School, now Hebburn Comprehensive School, showing them putting together a production of the comic opera ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ at the school in 1952. The film shows the pupils not only rehearsing but also working to build sets and props. The film also shows the all-male cast performing various scenes from the play including a number of boys playing the Major-General’s daughters. Title: Hebburn Clegwell Boys Modern School The film opens on a view of the exterior of the Hebburn Clegwell Boys Modern School. Above the main entrance is the word ‘Boys' written in stone and below that ‘Clegwell’. The door opens and the Headmaster, Mr George Kellett comes out. Title: A School Project There are general views of various stained glass windows showing a woman in a kimono and the date 1949, a man in a gondola dated 1950 and a Beefeater standing beside the houses of parliament. The date for this window is 1951 and down the rights side of the pane the word ‘Iolanthe’. Title: Our Opera 1952 An overhead view showing a group of men sitting around a large table flicking through a booklet. At the head of the table is Mr Kellett who stands and holds up the booklet which is a copy of the production of ‘Pirate of Penzance’. Title: 6 months to go Around a piano a group of boys are seen singing. An older followed by a younger boy perform a solo. The film cuts to show a group of people standing around a plan for the stage backdrops. There is a close up of the plan showing their designs. Title: 3 months to go In a woodwork shop students are seen sawing, drilling, hammering and putting together a section of backdrops. At the top of a large ladder a student paints a section of set. In another workshop a number of other students use a soldering iron to help create a candle shaped light fixture. There is a view of a stage lighting board [this sequence is out of focus]. Title: 1 month to go Beside a man playing the piano students rehearse various song and dance routines. Title: Dress rehearsal Behind stage a group of boys remove their blazers. The film cuts to show one of the boys stepping into a petty-coat. A man applies make-up to one of the boy’s face. A woman irons a costume [this sequence is filmed out of focus]. The film cuts back to a boy being helped into a dress. He can be seen wearing a blonde wig. There is a close up of the boy who smiles at the camera. General view of the boy now in the dresswearing a bonnet with blue ribbon. Next to him stands a second boy dressed as Major-General Stanley in bright red jacket and large sword. He also has a moustache and is seen playing with his sword. There are close up of both the boys. The film cuts to the front page of the programme reads ‘The Pirate of Penzance or “The Slave of Duty”. Presented by the Boys of Clegwell Secondary Modern School Hebburn. Headmaster George Kellett. Musical Directed by W.N. Jukes L.R.A.M. Production by Martin G. Lennon. Costumes by Drury (Brighton)’. A second page of the programme is shown giving details of the cast and choir. The film cuts to a set of green curtains which open revealing the stage full of students dressed as pirates. They perform a routine from the play. A group of boys dressed as women comes onto the stage and perform for the camera including solos inlcluding that of the boy seen previously dressed in a blue bonnet. The Major General comes onto stage, prances around and performs a song. Title: Scene changing General views showing boys coming onto the stage and removing or changing various pieces of set. The green curtains open again and the cast perform more routines from the play. A number of boys dressed as policemen come onto the stage and perform a routine. The film cuts to the green curtains now closed. Title: And now another window General view of a new stained glass window showing Pirates of Penzance. Title: the End The film ends on another stained glass window showing the schools coat-of-arms. Context A class act on the stage as school boys in drag tackle Gilbert and Sullivan’s swashbuckling opera. There’s a liberal slap of greasepaint for boys at the new Clegwell Secondary Modern School who prepare to tread the boards in bonnets for a performance of Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera, Pirates of Penzance. This silent (somewhat out of focus) Kodachrome amateur film captures the industrious fun of set design, rehearsals, and the on stage slapstick of an annual theatrical production by Hebburn pupils growing up poor in the shadow of shipyards on the Tyne.