Teenagers love watching television soaps like Coronation Street, EastEnders and Hollyoaks in their spare time.
But year 11 students at West Exe Technology College in Exeter have gone one better. They have written, directed and performed their own soap opera at school.
Show on the Exe, a six-part series written by 16-year-old Elle Morris, began its run on YouTube last month, with additional episodes being added every week.
Elle, who is currently taking GCSEs and plans to take A levels in physics, chemistry, maths, psychology and history, started writing the soap in her spare time.
When she showed the script to friends at the 11 to 16 comprehensive they hit on the idea of filming it for real and held a series of auditions at school. The 10-strong cast and crew began filming in February.
The project was entirely student led but Dave Salter, head of expressive arts at West Exe, offered advice and moral support. Most filming took place in the school’s drama studio, either at lunch-times or after school.
The first episode of the soap has been viewed hundreds of times and the students hope that the numbers will grow. Elle has already written a second series and cast members plan to film it during the summer holidays. “They are a hugely enterprising group,” Mr Salter told SecEd. “The crucial thing was that Elle had the vision to do this and got the team around her to put her idea into practice.
“The whole project has given them confidence, responsibility, organisational skills and a go-getting attitude. They all realised that if you want to do something then you really can go and do it.”
“Everyone has been very supportive,” said Elle, who directed the soap and did most of the editing. “We have had a lot of people at school telling us that they want to see what happens next.” CAPTION: Action! The West Exe students including the soap’s writer/director Elle Morris (fourth left)