Review: Dronfield students put heart and soul into a bold production

'˜Can't anyone help? Won't anyone help?' cried a mother at the end of her tether as she struggled to get professional care for her mentally-ill daughter.

Thursday, 4th February 2016, 6:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th February 2016, 6:19 pm
The next drama production will be Find Me - to be staged by sixth form and GCSE drama and performing arts students. 'Find Me' is a challenging play written by in the 1970's by Olwen Wymark. It tells the real life story of Verity Taylor, a girl who grew up facing a range of emotional and psychological difficulties which were misinterpreted and mismanaged at the time. The story explores her family's struggle to find support and cope with Verity's behaviour. Our production shows four actors playing the central role, each representing a different aspect of Verity's personality. It tells the story of Veritys journey from childhood to her incarceration in Broadmoor hospital whilst still in her early twenties. Production times: Tuesday 2nd; Wednesday 3rd and Friday 5th February at 7.30pm. Venue: the Fanshawe Hall. Names: the blond girl at the front is Ellie Cook; left middle with straight dark hair is Lilly Ford; right middle with wavy hair is Lucy Pratt; back row is Rachael Luscombe. All the girls play the mai

This powerful message was vividly portrayed in a heart-rending production by students at Henry Fanshawe School in Dronfield.

The true story of troubled Verity Taylor who destroyed her family’s life, was ostracised at school for being different, started a fire in the geriatric wing of a hospital and was sent to Broadmoor inspired Olwen Wymark to write the play Find Me. Verity’s condition was undiagnosed by medics in the Seventies and her parents faced an uphill battle to get the right care for her.

Portraying this traumatic tale was a weighty challenge for the creative arts students but one which they didnt’t flinch from. First-class acting, well-formed characters and imaginative staging made this production the school’s best yet.

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Ellie Cook, Rachael Luscombe, Lily Ford and Lucy Pratt portrayed Verity at various stages in her life, from confused child prone to destructive tantrums to the 20-something incarcerated in a mental hospital. Verity’s breakdown in which she covered herself in paint and food and later self-harmed were harrowing scenes while white noise and projected visual distortion conjured up a mind in turmoil.

Dylan Lambert and Ela Yalcin put heart and soul into the roles of Verity’s parents, their growing desperation tugged the heart-strings as they were stonewalled by medical and social workers either through lack of resources or understanding of their plight.

In his programme notes, director Jon Parker commented: “Recent government cutbacks have seen a significant decline in funding to mental health services and many experts fear that a crisis in the standard and provision of care is likely.”

Jon and his talented pupils should be applauded for a brave production which tackled an emotive and sensitive subject.

The final public performance of Find Me is at Henry Fanshawe School tomorrow (Friday, February 5) at 7.30pm.