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News > Reunions > West Side Story: 20 Year Reunion

West Side Story: 20 Year Reunion

Old Lyonians travelled from around the UK to meet on Saturday 6th April to unite with John Lyon's West Side Story cast of Jets on their 20th anniversary performing at the Ryan Theatre in April 2004.
19 Apr 2024
Written by Madison Freeman
Jets reunion at the Ryan Theatre on the 20th anniversary of their performance
Jets reunion at the Ryan Theatre on the 20th anniversary of their performance

Owen Peachey, OL 2004 first reached out to the Alumni office in December 2023 with the idea of planning the JLS West Side Story Jets Reunion. He was an absolute stalwart in bring togeher the Old Lyonians (From the pic L to R: Ishil Mehta 2006, Atif Siddiqui 2007, Michael Betts 2007, Stuart Onslow 2007, Ali Milne 2007, Swaraj Thancanamootoo 2004, Owen Peachey, 2004). It was a delight spending the afternnoon with the group. Owen sent me the following note about the reunion: 

"The first week of April 2024 saw the 20th anniversary of the School’s production of West Side Story at the Ryan Theatre. This was the second production performed at the Theatre following Guys and Dolls in 2003. West Side Story was driven by Deborah Gibbs (Head of Drama) and Stuart Miles (Director of Music), along with a multi-year cast of Lyonians and girls from sister schools in the surrounding area. These were the original productions that started the tradition of the school performing annually at the Ryan Theatre. To honour this anniversary a number of the OL cast members that made up “the Jets” gang came together to the Ryan Theatre, the School and share memorises that of a time that was so formative for them.

It was an ethereal experience for those that attended again being able to step on the stage of the Ryan Theatre. It is very much a sacred space for those that have had the opportunity to perform on it whilst at the School, and that feeling has continued from 2003 to the present day for those fortunate to do so. From those who attended many thoughts were shared on the fraternal bounds that were forged during the time spent in the performing arts at John Lyon. They also shared their continued gratitude to Deborah Gibbs, Stuart Miles and the School for the personal growth, self-awareness and fulfilment that West Side Story (and other productions) gave them in their formative years.

During the tour of the school, more memories were shared in the Drama Studio, the Boyd Campbell Hall and Music School of productions and performances, including the inaugural Sixth Form Leavers concert in 2004 and Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors in 2003.

What was also clear was the genuine affection still held by those attending for their time at John Lyon. The performing arts are a great medium to empower human beings, and long may this generative tradition remain at the John Lyon School."

Thank you to all the OLs who travelled from as far as Frume, Somerset, Brighton and across London to be back with old friends.



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