The Grinch is star of the show at college

(From left) Dan Farmer, Billy Young as The Grinch and Ralph Morgan
(From left) Dan Farmer, Billy Young as The Grinch and Ralph Morgan
Dr John Steadman, archivist of Portsmouth History Centre based at Portsmouth Central Library     Picture:  Malcolm Wells

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He’s mean, he’s green and he hates Christmas – but that hasn’t stopped college students confronting the fearsome opposite of festive cheer.

More than 40 members of Highbury College’s theatre company, including young people with disabilities and learning difficulties, are to entertain audiences this week with their take on The Grinch.

Samantha Shaw, 16, who is playing Cindy-Lou Who – who shows sympathy for the foul-tempered green and hairy creature – is studying a national level three BTEC diploma in performing arts.

She says: ‘It’s really nice for the core students and the Independent Living and Work Skills (ILWS) students to come together and work on a fun project.

‘We haven’t had that many rehearsals because we only really have a chance to meet up once a week.

‘Luckily the group works so well together, and everyone is so enthusiastic and hard-working, that it all comes together very quickly.

‘Everybody makes a real effort to get to all the rehearsals and work hard for the team when they are there.’

ILWS student Dan Farmer, 21, is playing Stu Who. He says: ‘I like being in shows. I can be myself, make people laugh and have a good time.

‘My character is kind of a cool dude who is trying to impress all the girls.

‘I’ve done a lot of shows so I never really get nervous in front of a big audience.’

The company prides itself on its membership which includes students from a range of subjects, backgrounds and abilities.

Young people aged between 16 to 30 are involved in every part of the production process, from choreography to set design.

They have been working hard on the production of the story based on Dr Seuss’s poem How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Volunteers from the college’s media department are providing technical support and arts students have designed and created costumes and props.

Samantha says: ‘It’s something everyone can enjoy, whether you are old or young you can just come along and have some fun.’

The Grinch is showing at Highbury tonight and tomorrow at 7pm, and there is also a showing on Friday at 11am.

Tickets costing £3 can be bought from the college’s Cosham campus. Alternatively, e-mail info@highbury.ac.uk or call 012 9238 3131 for more information.