Durrington High School

Going beyond our best

Super success as DHS place first in their heat of new competition Dance Live

On Wednesday 12th February our 120 strong team headed to Portsmouth Guildhall to perform in the first ever Dance Live competition. Having taken part in Rock Challenge, which was sadly not happening in 2020, for so many years, the team were delighted to have the opportunity to perform in a new and exciting competition.

The team have been working hard on their 7-minute piece since September, rehearsing every Friday after school. Everyone involved has shown incredible dedication and had a wonderful time. The amazing piece titled ‘Fearless and Therefore Powerful’ was an exploration into the world of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The novel has been the inspiration for so many film and theatre adaptations and the wonderful team knew they could create something very special. The performance tells the story of Victor Frankenstein’s journey, detailing his obsessive pursuit to create a human, whilst exploring the varied emotions resulting from the reality of this and ultimately exposing the tragedy within the story.

The excited students arrived at Portsmouth Guildhall at midday and after a fun hip-hop lesson they had a half an hour slot on the stage to rehearse with full lighting. They then moved to a different space and had another 30 minutes to polish and perfect the piece before the evening performance. The rest of the afternoon was spent getting ready with hair, costume and make up. This is always a great part of the day as the students chat and work together to create incredible results. Many thanks to Learning Supervisor Ellie Symmonds who worked tirelessly on the hair and make up for the students playing monsters.

DHS were the penultimate performance so the team had a nervy wait whilst the first 6 schools performed. When they got on the stage they were all outstanding, The hard work that had gone into the piece really shone through and it was a flawless performance. They skipped off the stage feeling happy and proud, knowing they had all done their best.

Once the final performance had taken place representatives from each school were invited on to the stage for the results. Third place was announced as The Angmering School and second place as Richard Taunton. The nerves increased as everyone knew it was either first place or not progressing to the finals, so the screams and jumps for joy erupted when Durrington High School were awarded first place. The team will now go on to take part in the Dance Live final on Saturday 25th April.

It is a huge achievement to have come first, especially as all other schools included 6th Form students. At Durrington High School everyone is welcome to join the Dance Live team a    nd inclusivity is at the heart of the piece, this was acknowledged in one of the judges’ comments, ‘You all had the opportunity to shine.’

Mrs Isham, Director of Performing Arts, said, ‘I am so proud of this team. They were professional, supportive ad hard working in taking on this new venture. Thanks to Portsmouth Guildhall for putting on such a superb competition, we have been looked after so well and it has been such a pleasure to be part of the first ever Dance Live competition.’

It was a real treat to welcome back ex-DHS pupil and West End performer Charlie Donnelly who we are so grateful to for supporting us with much of the fantastic and challenging choreography.

Many thanks to the staff involved for giving our students such an incredible and enriching opportunity – Emily Isham, Lizzie Wolstenholme, Louise Wallis-Tayler, April Cross, Annie Hewett, Kathy Hughes, Sam Hodnett and Ellie Symmonds.


  • Durrington High School has made me become more confident in myself by encouraging me to just go for it! The extra-curricular activities have offered me good opportunities to work with new people and meet new friends, resulting in me feeling safe and content at school.