Ariel’s play on bullying takes to stage at National Diana Awards

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Three Ariel Drama Academy students were invited to tackle the difficult subject of bullying at the National Diana Awards ceremony, which took place in London on July 1.

The awards, in memory of Princess Diana, honoured 70 inspirational young people who have all worked exceptionally hard to make a difference to the lives of others.

Award winners included children who are young carers, active volunteers, phenomenal fundraisers, those who show courage in everyday life and young people who campaign for change.

Ariel students have received awards twice in recognition of their ‘Buddy’ programme, where students assist the drama academy’s special needs Othello students.

This year also saw the Diana Champion Fundraiser Award given to Stephen Sutton for his outstanding fundraising for young people with cancer.

The award was collected by Andy Sutton, Stephen’s father, as Stephen passed away in May aged just 19 following his battle against cancer.

The Ariel students who come from Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath and Steyning performed a piece from Dennis Kelly’s DNA, a powerful play that looks into bullying and how destructive it can be.

Jarrod Hopson, 15, from St Paul’s Catholic College, Thomas Anning, 14, from Oathall and John Matthews, also 14, from Steyning Grammar School, produced a moving piece of theatre, under the direction of tutor Ben Simpson.

Ariel Drama Academy Principal, Nicci Hopson said: “It was a very emotional day and we were honoured to be asked to perform. We were delighted to hear that Diana Award Ambassador and business women Kate Hardcastle, who presented the Anti-Bullying Champion and Active Campaigner Awards was particularly struck with the issues that our performance dealt with. It was a great experience for the boys to perform at the ceremony.”

The calibre of performers on the day was high and Jarrod, Thomas and John shared the stage with Britain’s Got Talent finalist Jordan O’Keefe and X Factor’s Hannah Barratt who both performed and presented awards for the charity, which has Prime Minister David Cameron as its Patron.

Fans of Ariel’s productions will be able to see DNA when a full cast brings the whole play to life on October 31 and November 1. For more information about Ariel Drama Academy and its upcoming productions click here