Students from fourteen academies came together to tread the boards of the Majestic Theatre in Retford, as part of the Diverse Academies’ annual Creative Arts Festival yesterday.

The event organised by the multi-academy trust saw children from primary age up to year ten performing pieces on the theme of diversity, with an exceptionally high standard of performances.

East Leake Academy opened the show in style with a live rendition of The Greatest Show performed by a five-piece band and dance group. The film proved to be a theme throughout with pieces from the musical also appearing in acts from Tuxford Academy and Wainwright Primary Academy.

Students from Tuxford wowed the audience with their version of The Greatest Show on Japanese Taiko drums including a stand-out performance by year ten’s Finton in his stage debut. While Wainwright’s pupils rocked the stage with their guitarists playing – and singing – A Million Dreams.

Kirsty Rafferty, student engagement lead for Diverse Academies, said: “The Creative Arts Festival isn’t about showcasing the best talent we have, but about giving students a chance to try something new. For many of our young people this was their first time on stage and they should be incredibly proud of how well they performed.”

Tuxford Primary’s year five pupils came up with their own interpretation of diversity with a dance they titled ‘didentity’ and were followed on stage by Retford Oaks’ outstanding year seven students who performed When I Grow Up from Matilda the musical.

Parents and students were blown away by soloist Lerato from National Church of England Academy who sang Andra Day’s Rise Up. Just moments before she’d been joined on stage by fellow students who collectively read an award-winning anti-racism poem written by year nine student Odetta.

Walton Academy also wowed the crowds with their contemporary dance to Outnumbered by Dermot Kennedy, and in their first time singing together, year nine students from The Holgate Academy performed Iris by the Goo Goo dolls.

A mix of students from years seven to ten came together for Queen Elizabeth’s emotional rendition of Lost Boys by Ruth B.  And the primaries didn’t disappoint either with Thrumpton’s Let the Love Shine Through and Bracken Lane’s Still I Rise, both attracting a huge round of applause.

Pupils from Samuel Barlow Primary were last to perform with their toca drum piece and, to close the show, students from all academies came together with a rousing rendition of This is Me – the stand-out song from The Greatest Showman a fitting finale for another successful creative arts festival.

A huge well done to all of the children who performed, and to our staff members who have supported them in putting together these wonderful performances. We can’t wait to see what next year’s event holds!