The Explorers

Date 4th June 2023
Society Darlington Academy of Performing Arts
Venue Hummersknott Academy
Type of Production Musical
Director Paul Mason Joanne Mason
Choreographer Paul Mason Joanne Mason
Written By Paul and Joanne Mason


Author: Michelle Coulson

“The Explorers” was a perfect vehicle to showcase the wide range of ages and abilities at DAPA. Written by Paul and Joanne it was the story of an alien girl Lexi who after a misunderstanding decides to run away from home with her robot Pixel by her side. They land on earth in the bedroom of two sisters and together they set off on an adventure exploring some of the exciting places to visit. Their activities attract the attention of Ms Boss a government agent who would love to capture an extra-terrestrial.

Staging involved some good purpose built props and integrated video performances from some pupils as well as keeping the audience up to date with where in the galaxy we were. I was impressed to hear that young people were also assisting with being stage crew and providing the lighting operation, great experience and a job well done. The costumes and makeup were excellent, especially for the alien element of the cast, the robots inparticular were impressive. 

In a school which has 275 pupils the logistics of involving everyone in the four performances over two days cannot be underestimated and the standard was very high. At the performance I attended the principal cast were all very good and I have no doubt that the casts of the other performances were equally good. As Lexi and Pixel, Ellie Price and Anna Dryden gave confident performances with lovely vocals, their earth friends Sophie and Emma played by Phoebe Carr and Charlie Conner gave good support and their relationship as sisters was believable. Eva Gatenby gave us a suitably strong Ms Boss leading her team of agents very well. The partnership of Alien mum and Helix played by Camryn Mason and Owen Morris was excellent, both giving very confident performances and dealing well with a slight technical hitch which might have thrown many an experienced adult performer; “A Musical” was a highlight of the show.

There were some super dance performances and musical numbers which involved all of the cast and had great energy throughout. The youngest performers did very well with their “Men in Black” and Disneyland numbers, they were giving their all and stealing the hearts of the audience.

Congratulations to everyone involved, thank you for a super evening’s entertainment and for making me so welcome. I am really looking forward to seeing your production of “School of Rock” in August.