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School of Rock

Rugby Theatre gets ready to rock!

School of Rock, Rugby Theatre, Rugby, 9 – 18 June.

Preview by Rosie Fuller

Rugby Theatre invites you to ‘stick it to the man’ with the feel-good musical extravaganza School of Rock, up next at the Henry Street venue.

Based on the hit movie, School of Rock follows Dewey Finn, a down-and-out wannabe rockstar, who tries to earn a bit of extra cash by posing as a supply teacher at a prestigious school. There he turns a class of straight A pupils into a guitar shredding, bass-slapping rock band – but can he get them to Battle of the Bands without the headmistress finding out?

R-L: Kenny Robinson, Show Director with son Dexter, Ellie Ward with Dad Simon. Photo Rob Tysall-Pro Photography.

“I think audiences will be buzzing by the end of the show and leave on an absolute high,” says Show Director Kenny Robinson. “But I'm also hoping to take them on a rollercoaster of emotions. It's not just about kids learning rock and roll. It's about kids being heard, and adults accepting that kids have a voice, and that their voice is valid.”

Rehearsing one of the many songs.

As well as the adult cast, the show stars two teams of talented local youngsters aged between 10 and 14 as the school pupils, with band members playing their own instruments (electric guitar, bass guitar, keyboard and drums) live on stage. The iconic role of Dewey, played in the film by Jack Black, is also shared, with Matt Watson and Will Neale performing the high-energy part over the musical’s 14-show run.

Keeping the beat.

“We've got some people in the cast who are incredible musicians, but who have never been on a stage before, and the thought of delivering a line absolutely petrified them,” says Kenny. “And then we've got people who’ve been on stage and in dance schools and we said to them, ‘We want you to learn an instrument as well, because we think you're capable.’ So there's been a lot of challenge for everyone, but it’s sounding great.”

Rock 'n' roll.

The musical contains catchy hits from the original film, plus 14 new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Glenn Slater, including Stick it to the Man and Mount Rock – also the nicknames Kenny has given to his two teams of youngsters. School of Rock has toured as a professional show, but Rugby Theatre will be one of the country’s first amateur venues to perform it.

Rehearsing those notes.

“It’s a real feel-good story,” finishes Kenny. “Just because you're not the person writing a song or playing lead guitar, your contribution still makes the action happen. The roadies responsible for creating the lights, the person keeping watch for the headmistress to make sure she doesn’t walk into the classroom at the wrong time. Everybody has a job to fulfil in the band.

“I'd suggest people bring hankies and tissues, because there will be some very emotional moments.”

School of Rock runs from 9-18 June, with matinee performances at weekends. Tickets are available from the Rugby Theatre box office on 01788 541234, or


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