Thomas Whitham Sixth Form’s Drama teacher, Russell Lane had tea with the Queen this week at Buckingham Palace. He was invited to one of the annual garden parties by Lord Shuttleworth, Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire for the work he had done over the past year within the community.
It was recognition for a Lottery Heritage project ‘Our Tommy’, which was a theatrical telling of the life story of Thomas Whitham, who received the Victoria Cross in 1917. The play, which was devised with Theatre Studies students from the sixth form, was seen by over one thousand school pupils across Burnley, Pendle and Ribblesdale and was supported by The Imperial War Museum North, The Royal British Legion and The Muslim Heritage Centre in Manchester.
Russell said, “You do the work because it’s important that people are able to experience a live theatre event. Sometimes because of economic or social constraints this isn’t always possible and young people in particular respond in a really enthusiastic way to seeing live theatre. It is nice to get recognition for making a positive impact, although that doesn’t enter your head when creating the work”.