Bedford school celebrates 20 year exchange in Germany with new play

Lauren Marler, Lola Fudger-Galvez, James O'Hara, Rosie Lowe
Lauren Marler, Lola Fudger-Galvez, James O'Hara, Rosie Lowe

Wootton Upper School Celebrates 20 Years of Germany Partnership with Quirky Musical Comedy

Every year since 1996, students from Wootton Upper School have taken part in an exciting exchange with a school in Germany where they have the chance to perform on a professional stage.

This year, to celebrate 20 years of this unique partnership they will be performing musical comedy the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee which is guaranteed to go down a storm with audiences both locally and overseas.

First performed off-Broadway in 2005, and the winner of the Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is filled with effortless wit and humour.

It features a fast-paced, wildly funny and touching script and a truly vibrant score and is particularly fresh for its use of audience participation.

The play follows an eclectic group of six mid-pubescents who vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime.

While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake.

The cast are rehearsing hard to ensure the production will be a delightful den of comedic genius in time for opening night at Wootton in November.

Amongst the cast of 12, there are some familiar faces including Kezzie Turner who at just 16 who already has a wealth of stage and showbiz experiences. Kezzie starred as Mrs Wilkinson in Wootton’s sell-out production of Billy Elliot earlier this year and her role as the easily pronounced Logainne Shwartzandgrubeneir in Spelling Bee will be her eighth at Wootton.

Kezzie is also a member of the specialist Musical Theatre programme West End Kids who she will be performing with in London’s Regent Street Motor Show later this year.

She has also performed at the National Theatre of Uganda, is an accomplished pianist and was last year’s winner of Bedford’s Musical Theatre Singing Festival.

The vital role of Mitch Mahoney will be played by 15-year-old Theo Diedrich who is currently juggling his rehearsal schedules carefully as he will also be playing Buttons in Bedford Pantomime Company’s Cinderella at Bedford Corn Exchange this Christmas.

Theo is also a member of Stagecoach and has performed at Leatherhead Theatre in London in many musicals including West Side Story and Joseph.

Lauren Marler, 16, who will be playing Marcy Park is no stranger to the stage.

Lauren played Hortensia in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda the Musical, is a member of the prestigious London Contemporary Dance School and has competed in the International Street Dance Festival in Amsterdam. Lauren has also performed at Milton Keynes Theatre and Sharnbrook Mill Theatre in Guys and Dolls, West Side Story and Gypsy.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is guaranteed to have its audience’s crying with laughter at the original, quick and unexpected and will be a smash hit both at home and abroad.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee runs from Tuesday 8th – Thursday 10th November at 7:30pm at Wootton Upper School before touring to Germany the following week.