Students at the Gala Theatre Stage School (GTSS) have been creating video performances on Facebook after the school closed its doors due to the lockdown

As the students cannot meet face-to-face, they have been using online calls to record themselves performing popular show tune numbers and producing these into videos.

Last week, the group posted their version of Seasons of Love, from the musical Rent, which was met with over 9,000 views in a period of 24-hours, a wave of positive feedback, and requests for an encore.

In response the students remotely created and posted another video call performance, singing You Will Be Found from the new musical Dear Evan Hanson, and dedicated this number to key workers on the frontline.

Following a second round of online applause, last night GTSS orchestrated a bigger video call performance which was posted in time for Clap for Carers and has, so far, reached almost 4,000 views.

The video featured 55 of their members, aged from three to 23 years old, clapping on their individual doorsteps while eight senior students sang Do You Hear The People Sing from Les Miserable on video call.

Kate Sorahan-Turner, Durham County Council’s theatre education officer, said: “Like others, I became aware that every time I went on social media it was mostly negative and really hard to read. I wanted to lighten things up and put a smile on people’s faces even just for a few minutes. I asked a few of my older students to help out, and they all jumped at the chance.

“I spoke to my musical director, Mark Thompson, and with help from a few friends managed to find the right tools to allow us to record more than one voice online.

“All our performances have been received with great love and I can certainly tell we are doing what we set out to do. I am so proud of all of my students and to be able to use their talent to bring a light over these dark times is something quite special. I hope everyone enjoys this week’s song choice and keeps an eye out for the next one.”

Cllr Joy Allen, Cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “It is excellent to see that in this time of uncertainty people are coming together and using their talents to spread positivity to others.

“The overwhelming response to the students’ videos just shows how important it is that we continue to keep each other’s spirits lifted and support people in our community at this time, even if this must be done virtually. The performances from the students are fantastic and a great way to share some joy during this outbreak.”

The video performances can be viewed online at the GTSS Durham Facebook page.

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