A group of Denbigh High School performing arts students participated in a musical written by their teacher for an awards ceremony held in the magical surroundings of a Welsh castle.

Claire Tranmer, Performing Arts teacher, created The Mighty Quill’together with Tim Heeley, teacher of music at Coleg Cambria.

The teachers were commissioned by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, to write and direct a musical based on the life of Gerald of Wales to be performed at Caerphilly Castle, Cardiff as part of an awards ceremony, sponsored by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, to celebrate Wales’s Heritage Angels.

Set in the twelfth century, the musical gives a light-hearted portrayal of the first journey around Wales by the archdeacon of Brecon known as Gerald of Wales, who was also a historian and missionary.

Four Denbigh High School students, Katy MacDonald and Owen Barrow both year 11, and Georgia Pierce and Bethan Jackson from year 13, took part in the project along with 14 students from Deeside Sixth Form Centre.

Rehearsals took place at the Deeside Sixth Form Centre every week after school for two months and the production was debuted at Theatr Clwyd for an audience of a 150 ahead of the main event at Caerphilly Castle.

Ms Tranmer said: “'It really was an honour to have been asked to co-ordinate and direct the project. Denbigh High should be extremely proud of the four students that took part, they were exceptional.

“The project provided a fantastic opportunity for Denbigh High students to be recognised for their talents and to socialise with students from Coleg Cambria. Lasting friendships have been made over the last two months.

“Performing within the walls of such a beautiful castle was thrilling and the experience of performing with a live professional band, and with animations and puppetry by Ben Davis, was incredible.”

Cadw responded to the performance saying that it “exceeded all expectations” and that it is now keen to find a budget next year to tour the piece around other Cadw heritage sites.

Dafydd Elis Thomas, a politician with Plaid Cymru and Assembly Member for Dwyfor Meirionydd, spoke highly of the performance.

He commended the students' talent and “their ability to entertain whilst rousing a surge of patriotism as we recognised the importance of our Welsh culture and heritage through the plot, choreography and music.”

The awards ceremony was broadcast to Andrew Lloyd Webber and was hosted by Rhys Mwyn and Lord Elis-Thomas.

Baroness Kay Andrews chaired the judging panel which comprised Cefin Burgess, Andrew Teilo and Michael Sheen. Awards were presented to five projects in recognition of the achievements of young people, apprentices, volunteers and historic building restoration work.

Denbigh High’s performing arts students are currently rehearsing for the Christmas Carols by Candlelight event on Tuesday, December 11 - tickets now available from school - and preparing speeches for the upcoming Rotary Youth Speaks competition in January.