Curtain set to come down on drama teacher's career

A teacher is preparing for one final show '“ after four decades at the helm of a South Tyneside school's drama department.

Monday, 14th March 2016, 3:00 pm
Harton Technology College art and drama teacher Harry Lynch rehearses his final performance, Swan Song, with pupils.

Harry Lynch is retiring from Harton Technology College in July, but is putting on one final show before he bids the school farewell.

The 63-year-old began teaching art and drama at the school, in Lisle Road, in 1976.

He got involved in the school’s stage productions four years later when he was asked to design the set for Oliver and he hasn’t looked back since.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

As his retirement approaches, Harry, who lives with wife Denise, daughter Jenny Eccleston, her husband Chad and grandson Frankie, 18 months, says his fond memories will always be with him.

He said: “When I was asked to design the set for Oliver I went all out and created three spinning parts to create different locations on the stage, and a group of the Year 11 boys were recruited to push them round during the show.

“Then the teacher who was running the productions stepped down and I decided to take it on, putting on my first show in December that year, a Christmas show called The Enchanted Christmas Tree.

“I’ve actually taken a break from it over the last few years but was asked to put on one final show before I leave.

“I’ll really miss the school.”

Harry, originally from Hebburn but who now lives in Marsden, has many fond memories of his time at the school.

One is hearing a young Joe McElderry sing for the first time when, as a Year 10 pupil, he auditioned for the role of Danny in Grease in 2006.

He said: “Joe had never sang in front of anyone at the school before and when we first heard him, it was really something special.

“He was a young Year 10 boy and didn’t look as ‘Danny Zuko’ as some of the others, but when it came to singing and acting, he was the clear choice.”

His final show, dubbed Swan Song, will be made up of the best song and dance numbers from shows he’s produced over the years, including Grease, Oliver, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Oklahoma.

Harry said: “The show is sure to bring back some wonderful memories. Oklahoma has always been a favourite to do, and Oliver too.

“It will be nice to go out with a bang too. I’m sure the head, Sir Ken Gibson, will say something to try to get my bottom lip going, but I’m sure I’ll be able to hold it together.”

Primary school pupils will be invited to watch the show on Friday, March 18, with public performances on Monday, March 21 and Tuesday, March 22.

It starts at 7pm both nights and tickets cost £3. To book, call the school office on 0191 427 4050.