STUDENTS at a North Swindon performing arts academy are counting down the days to their first stage show in two years.

Classmates from Rising Aspirations Academy will perform We Will Rock You at the Wyvern Theatre on Sunday. They have performed annually at the town centre venue since the school launched in 2010 but could not continue while Covid caused theatres to close.

During the last term, more than 100 students have auditioned for roles and all the classes have been brought together to rehearse the full-scale production for 12 weeks.

Principal Laura Mathis said: "Show terms are always the best. It’s full-on but always lots of fun, there’s a real buzz and excitement in the air. It always amazes me how much the students learn and can achieve in such a short time - they work their socks off.

"Our students have really missed performing at the Wyvern - for most, it’s the highlight of their year. After a two-year break, we are totally buzzing to be back.

"We’re just so grateful that our students are still able to experience this fantastic opportunity and get back on stage. We go all out with costumes, professional lighting, sound and set design, and even have our own team of photographers and videographers who join us on show day. It’s a terrific experience for all the students, which gives them such wonderful, long-lasting, and happy memories."

The academy runs musical theatre, singing, dance and acting classes throughout the week and weekend. The musical based on songs by Queen will be performed at 2pm and 6pm with a cast of more than 130 students aged three to 18.

Student, Lily Cole said: "I am so excited for us to perform, we all can’t wait to get back on stage. My character, Brit, is co-leader of the Bohemians and I've really loved getting into character. It’s such a fun and entertaining show full of amazing Queen songs."

Head of singing, Ellen Cleary, added: 'Seeing everyone's hard work and enthusiasm is such a joy. Our students have shown such amazing commitment and determination over the last couple of years with everything that's been going on in the world. I can't wait to see them get the chance to give audiences a really fun night of entertainment."

Head of dance, Shannon Winsbury, said: ‘"It's been a long two years, but finally, our students get to return to the Wyvern stage. The energy in the studio is lovely to see - the students just can't wait to get back on stage, performing again.

"Students of all ages really do shine during our show term, and they work with such dedication and passion to give it their all. I’m very excited for them."

Laura Mathis added: "We Will Rock You’ is a story of heart, resilience, friendship, and drive - all traits our wonderful students gained through the past two years of the pandemic. Through sheer determination and passion, our students have proven they can get through anything.

"The last two years have been tough, but our students have been a total joy along the way and have always remained positive!

"When the pandemic hit, we moved all our classes online, teaching musical theatre, ballet, tap, jazz, singing, acting, street dance and even created our own online showcase performance. But now, two years on, our students simply cannot wait to perform live again, in front of two audiences."