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Grease is the word at St. Mary's

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St. Mary’s was transformed into Rydell High in America recently when the school mounted a successful production of the 1950s musical Grease.
Families and friends packed the St. Mary’s school hall to the rafters for the three-night run of the school version of the 1972 Broadway hit which later became the legendary 1978 Hollywood musical starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. A cast of around 40 pupils performed in the show which made full use of a new state-of-the-art sound and light system installed in the hall during the summer.
In the St. Mary’s production the lead roles of Danny and Sandy were played by 18-year-old Charlie Dandy from Southport and Head Girl, 17-year-old Niamh Thomas from Blundellsands. Their versions of famous songs like ‘Hopelessly Devoted To You’, ‘Sandy’ and ‘You're The One That I Want’ generated a fantastic response from the audience.
They received excellent support from the rest of the talented cast - including the members of the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds - whose versions of other well-known songs like ‘Summer Nights’ and ‘Greased Lightning’ received an equally warm reception.
The show - which involved five months of rehearsals - was directed by St. Mary’s Head of English, Peter Ravenscroft, and the Musical Director was Andrew Byers who also performed in the seven-piece band. It was the school’s first major musical production since Oliver, Lionel Bart’s 1960s Dickensian classic, in 2010.
Peter Ravenscroft commented, “Tackling this iconic show about young love, rebellion and what it’s like to be a teenager was always going to be a very ambitious venture. However, thanks to the abundance of acting and musical ability here at St. Mary’s, the production was a pleasure to direct and the talent, energy and enjoyment of the performers was visible for everyone to see. Ultimately though, the success of the show was down to a team effort, and as well as the cast and musicians I’d like to thank everyone else involved, including those who helped out backstage, sourced props and provided refreshments.”


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St. Mary's Sixth Formers present research findings

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Three Upper Sixth Formers from St. Mary’s have been presenting the findings of the high-level research projects they completed during the summer holiday. Niamh Thomas, Sam McGuire and Philip Thornton competed against hundreds of other applicants to win bursaries from the Nuffield Foundation which enabled them to spend four weeks working alongside professional scientists.
Head Girl Niamh Thomas from Blundellsands undertook her research at Liverpool University and Unilever, working on a project which focused on the purity of polyacrylic acid which is used in the manufacture of products such as nappies. The acid becomes safer to use as its purity increases.
Sam McGuire from Southport was based at Liverpool John Moores University for his research which looked at the use of microscopic parasites to tackle the problem of harmful insects such as mosquitoes.
Philip Thornton from Crosby also conducted his research at JMU, working on a so-called ‘big data’ project looking at data sets so large and complex that they are difficult to process using traditional applications.
All three students spoke about the projects and their findings recently at the annual Nuffield Presentation Evening at the World Museum in Liverpool.
Niamh Thomas commented, “Working on this research was an interesting and valuable experience in its own right, as well as being a very useful addition to my Personal Statement for my UCAS application.”
St. Mary’s Head of Biology and Nuffield Co-ordinator, Nicola Addy, added, “Niamh, Sam and Philip have followed in the footsteps of a large number of other St. Mary’s students who have won these prestigious Nuffield bursaries over the years. They are a fantastic opportunity for our Sixth Formers to get involved in high-level scientific research, and I know they have learned a huge amount from their work on these three important and interesting projects.”

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