Hackney Empire Fame tribute to Stoke Newington School pupil

Stoke Newington drama students in Fame.

Stoke Newington drama students in Fame. - Credit: Archant

Young performers will stage the musical Fame at the Hackney Empire in tribute to a fellow student who fell to his death rock climbing in Costa Rica.

Lucas Drummond

Lucas Drummond - Credit: Archant

Lucas Drummond, 16, from Meynell Crescent, the son of former Hackney councillor John Drummond, died in April following the accident.

The former Stoke Newington School pupil had been studying for his baccalaureate in the central American country after being offered a place at the United World College in San José, a non-profit organisation dedicated to offering an educational programme to young people.

Gemma Vanpraagh, head of drama at Stoke Newington School in Clissold Road, is working with Lucas’s mother Carol to stage the production at the theatre in Mare Street, which will raise funds for a charity he supported, the Costa Rican Humanitarian Foundation which helps vulnerable people.


Ms Vanpraagh said putting on the show has been an emotional journey.

“Lucas was one of our drama boys, he would have very much been in it had he not gone to Costa Rica.

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“His death has hit us all very hard. Thousands of students come through your classroom, through your teaching career, few stick with you and become one of your school family, but he was very much part of our team. He was a light in our school and on our school stage, he was one of the most charming people that I have ever met, and he was popular and clever and he was really emotionally intelligent, and I don’t think there’s probably a human who has met him that he hasn’t become one of their favourite people.

“He had a massively adventurous spirit and going to Costa Rica was an extension of, ‘I’m going to make my education an adventure too’.

“He was always going to do something slightly out of the ordinary. I don’t think living a mundane life was ever on the cards for him.”

Staging the show is a way for the children to honour him “through the medium through which they knew him”, and “the most appropriate way for them to say goodbye”, according to Ms Vanpraagh.

“It’s probably something that would have made Lucas laugh, something I would have forced him to sing in even though he protested he couldn’t’ sing,” she said.

“I’m just hoping that this production will be positive and successful and that we will be able to raise a substantial amount of money for the charity he cared a lot about when he was in Costa Rica.”

About 60 pupils, aged 11-18, are taking part in Fame, on Monday at 7pm, which offers a snapshot into the world of a performing arts school in 1980s New York.

About 60 pupils aged from 11-18 from the school in Clissold Road are taking part in the performance, which provides a snap shot into the world of a performing arts school in 1980s New York.

“It’s very much big song after big song, and dance routines, and it’s high energy from beginning to end,” said Ms Vanpraagh.

“Its been challenging but they have done it with absolute aplomb.”

Tickets cost £7, or £5 concessions, from the Hackney Empire box office. Call 020 8985 2424 or email boxoffice@hackneyempire.co.uk.