THOUGHT-PROVOKING, beautiful and with a modern twist - that is what audience members can expect from the Commonweal School Performing Arts Academy’s version of West Side Story.

The powerful musical will be the first to take place at the school’s new C6 auditorium since it officially opened inside the sixth form building in October, and features more than 50 Year 7 to Year 10 students.

Tickets are selling fast for the show, which takes place on November 26, 27 and 28.

Finishing touches are being made to the production, which is directed by Heather Birkbeck and choreographed by Claire Bowden.

Musical director Ali Sutcliffe said: “It’s a really beautiful piece of work, really thought-provoking and something you wouldn’t expect to see from students of this age. It is really quite challenging. We are doing it with a bit of a modern twist.

“We’ve got quite a young cast this year – the average age is 13. Some of them were familiar with the songs, some of them have done it before with theatre groups outside of school and for some of them, it’s the first time they’ve been involved in anything like this.

"One of the main characters in fact has never done anything to do with music, drama or dance before.

“I never get nervous for the students – I just love it; it’s why I do my job. They’ve put the hours in, they know their lines and the dances. We are just ironing out the creases now.

“It has been a lot of hard work and dedication, and some of them are juggling school work with rehearsals and theatre groups that they also belong to outside of school.”

Auditions were held back in June, with rehearsals taking place since September. In the past month, students have been busy rehearsing every day, even on Sundays, to ensure they put on a first-class performance.

Year 10 student Charlotte Delfina is playing Anita in the musical, which tells the story of two teenagers who fall in love, despite hailing from opposing sides of a turf war in New York’s Upper West Side.

She said: “I was quite nervous when I auditioned but now I’m feeling much more confident and relaxed because we all know our lines, we just need to see what it will be like when all the scaffolding is up.

"I’m most confident about my singing and I really acting.”

Tickets are £10 for adults, £7.50 for children and concessions and are available from the school’s finance office during school hours. Call 01793 612727.