St. Gregory’s stages Mary Poppins with twins twist

The Mead School in Tunbridge Wells gave a professional level performance in the  ISA drama contests

Next week, St Gregory’s School is staging Mary Poppins. Its Director and the Head of Drama, Michael King, tells the Times more about giving this classic musical a little contemporary twist

Drama students at St Gregory’s School are performing Mary Poppins as their annual summer production this year, with shows taking place this week from today [Wednesday] until Friday.

And in a unique twist, twin sisters Eleanor and Charlotte Bedford, both in Year 9, have been cast in the role of Mary Poppins, famously portrayed by acting legend Julie Andrews in the 1960s musical film directed by Robert Stevenson.

‘We are both enjoying playing the part of Mary Poppins, and using the fact we are twins to our advantage to create cool illusions,’ they reveal.

Playing chimney sweep Bert, famously first performed by Dick Van Dyke in the Disney film, are Jade O’Neill and John Palourti. Year 12 student John is a member of the National Youth Theatre, and Jade, who is in Year 11, has worked on films alongside US actor Will Farrell of Anchorman fame.

‘As a year 11 student, I found juggling all of my revision with the rehearsals was quite difficult. However, taking part in the school play gave me a bit of a break from GCSEs and time to have fun with friends,’ reveals Jade.

And it’s fair to say that the audience will be in for a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious experience thanks to a super-size set, memorable songs, including A Spoonful of Sugar and Feed the Birds, as well as some magic special effects, which according to the play’s director and Head of Drama, Michael King, ‘would even amaze the likes of David Copperfield and Harry Houdini’.

He goes on to add: ‘It’s been an absolute pleasure working with such a gifted and committed cast.

‘The hugely entertaining performance and energy radiated by the student actors and musicians is precisely the spoonful of sugar Mary Poppins would have prescribed to ease the everyday stresses of modern life.’

Year 10 student Ellie Harris, who plays the young Jane Banks, is also enjoying being part of this timeless production: ‘I loved the fact that the whole cast always worked as a team throughout the rehearsal process. If you were stuck on anything at all, someone would be there to help you out,’ she says.

The St Gregory’s production of Mary Poppins runs from today (Wednesday July 11) to Friday July 13. Performances start at 7.30pm and tickets cost £7 for adults and £3 for students. For more information, please visit

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