Series: School Friends: Book 2
By Ann Bryant
I was staring into the distance with a massive smile on my face, imagining myself on a stage somewhere in the West End of London. The sound of applause was ringing round the auditorium, and I felt the waves of adoration rolling over me as I took yet another bow. But then this totally cool daydream was interrupted by the sound of my best friend, Mia, whispering my name urgently and tapping me on the leg.
I came back to earth with a nasty bump, realizing I wasn’t on a stage at all. I was in my school assembly and the headmistress, Ms. Carmichael, was saying the prayer while every single one of the 360 girls in the hall was bowing her head respectfully. Well, every one except me. I quickly looked down and tried to get myself back into the daydream but got distracted by the sight of a ladder in my tights. It definitely hadn’t been there first thing this morning. I know that for a fact, because Miss Jennings would have spotted it with her eagle eye and made me go back to the dorm to change into a new pair of tights immediately.
Good old Miss Jennings. She’s the matron at Hazeldean, which is my boarding house at Silver Spires school. Most people find her really strict, and it’s true that she keeps her face straight the whole time, which Mia says is totally scary, but personally I like her. The secret is to chat to her lots and tell her jokes and then you can get a smile out of her. Well, I can anyway.
Yes I can! That makes two things I’m talented at. Acting and getting a smile out of Matron. Hallelujah! I tell you, it’s tough being in a dorm with five other girls who are all completely good-looking and talented. I mean, take Mia. She came to Silver Spires on a music scholarship because she’s so brilliant at piano. Then there’s Grace – she got a sports scholarship. As for Jess, she’d definitely have an art scholarship if there was such a thing. And Katy…well she’s the trendiest babe on this planet – I’d love to look like Katy – and we all just know she’ll finish up as a fashion designer because her sketches are amazing and she’s obsessed with the whole fashion scene. And finally – and this is the big one – there’s Naomi, who is an African princess. She’s also extremely beautiful and very wise. It’s just not fair that all of them are talented. I mean, how am I supposed to compete with that lot? They’re all my friends and I love them to death, but I do wish they weren’t quite so clever.
Seriously, the only thing I’m good at is acting. Drama has always been my passion. Even when I was only two and a half I used to love dressing up and stuff. My mum said I would stand in the middle of the circle of mothers at baby and toddler group, wearing an apron from the dressing-up box, and entertain everyone by pretending to scrub the floor. Thinking about it, I wonder if I might have developed a bit of a Cinderella obsession, but I don’t see how I could have understood the story if I was only two and a half. Aha! Maybe I really am a very bright person but nobody has managed to bring it out of me yet.
Whoops! I think I must have been in another daydream. Anyway, now Ms. Carmichael had finished the prayer we’d only got the teachers’ announcements to go, or notices, as everyone calls them. I wonder why they’re called notices when they’re not written down. And I also wonder if anyone ever listens to them. I looked round and wasn’t surprised to see that most people seemed to have glazed over. Assemblies are probably the most boring part of boarding-school life. Oh and science, and geography…and history. Actually, I can’t say I’m a big fan of any lessons except drama. The drama lesson and drama club are the biggest highlights of my week, well, apart from watching The Fast Lane on telly, which is my fave programme ever. Drama even beats eating smuggled biscuits after lights out and stifling giggles with my friends in case Miss Carol, the housemistress, hears, or going shopping at the beginning of term before you’ve spent all your allowance. Now I come to think about it there are hundreds of highlights to boarding-school life – well, to Silver Spires life anyway. Silver Spires is the best school in the world, in case I didn’t mention that.
Mia was bashing my leg again, but this time when she said my name it didn’t sound like a telling-off. In fact for some reason or other Mia was pretty excited. I tuned into what was happening and realized that Miss Pritchard, the senior drama teacher, was standing up. It’s funny because the hall was already silent but it went into an even deeper silence when Miss Pritchard began to speak. And personally I went into ecstasy.
“Some of you will know that the junior play will be staged at the end of term. Anyone in Year Seven, Eight or Nine can audition. The play is called Castles in the Air and it’s based on the book Little Women by Louisa M. Alcott.”
My heart hammered with excitement. A play. How brilliant is that? And Little Women is my favourite book ever.
“I’m sure many of you will have read the book,” went on Miss Pritchard, “and know that the story is centred around four sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy.”
Just hearing those four names felt magical, especially the name Amy. That was the sister I always liked reading about the most.
“There are quite a few other substantial roles in the play as well as these four main ones, and there are also lots of smaller roles.” Miss Pritchard paused and smiled round at everyone, and I smiled right back. I was suddenly Cinderella again and she was my fairy godmother – You shall go to the ball!
I hung on to her every word because I didn’t want to miss a thing or get anything wrong. It would be terrible if I didn’t show up at the auditions because I hadn’t taken in the time properly.
“There’s a very high standard of acting at Silver Spires, and traditionally this junior play has always been incredibly well received by the parents, which is important because it’s a showcase for the school…” She smiled again but then suddenly looked very serious and spoke in a slow, firm voice. “To produce a fine performance I need total commitment from my actors…”
I stood up straight and stuck out my chin. She could rely on me, all right. I’d learn all my words overnight and turn up at every rehearsal bang on time. I couldn’t wait to get started, in fact. Come on, Miss Pritchard, tell us when the auditions are…
“So bear that in mind if you’re thinking of auditioning for a part. It’s great fun being involved in a theatre production but it’s also hard work and there are sacrifices to be made, such as missing your favourite clubs sometimes, missing television to learn your lines…”
I didn’t care. I’d miss every meal as well, if she wanted me to, even though the meals at Silver Spires are mouth-wateringly yum-worthy and eating is one of my favourite activities in the whole world.
“If you’d like to audition for a part you’ll need to come to the senior hall, which, for Year Seven students who don’t do drama club, is upstairs and along the main corridor in this building…”
She pointed to the ceiling, and I thought back to my first day at Silver Spires when I’d gone exploring for anything to do with drama, and first come across the senior hall and also seen the incredible new theatre, which looked like something out of the West End of London. It would be so fantastic to perform on that stage.
Georgie loves acting and is determined to win her favourite role in the school play. But her audition goes drastically wrong and an older girl steals the show instead. Will Georgie ever get her chance in the limelight now? Crammed with the glamour and gossip of boarding-school life, this is a fabulously aspirational new series from a well-loved author.
Ann Bryant is both an author and a musician. She started her writing when she was young, writing a play when she was still at primary school. At school, one of her favourite activities was just hanging out with friends and Ann is happy to relive these times again with the girls of Silver Spires in the fantastic School Friends series. Ann now teaches music and drama as well as writing children's fiction, including the very successful Ballerina Dreams series.
Visit www.annbryant.co.uk to find out more.
Read the following reviews or write one of your own.
I couldn't stop reading the book until I had finished it. I think other people should read the book too. I love acting too and to hear that I didn't get the part I wanted would be a complete nightmare, but I loved the ending, how she was able to get the part and actually make the crowd cry. WOW!!!!!!!!
“first term at sliver spires”
Wow I love this book, my friend got it at a book fair and I didn't want to read my books - we had to sit there reading our books after the fair, so i read her book 'First Term at Silver Spires'. I only read a bit because we weren't in there for that long, but I loved the start and a year later (now) I got it from the library and I read it all. It's sooooooooo good I really want to get 'Drama at Silver Spires' next. I'm reading the start of that at the back of the book I'm reading at the moment!!! Super good so far.
Georgie is cool she loves to act just like me. My mum got me the book for Christmas now nearly read it all can't wait to read "Rivalry".