Mrs Ripollles Retires
Head of Drama Debbie Ripolles bids emotional farewell after 21 years
Not so much a drama queen as Urmston Grammar's Queen of Drama, Mrs. R. has reigned over the department since her arrival in 2000, during which time she has - in Headteacher Mrs. Wall's words - "nurtured, cajoled and dictated" in order to inspire many a majestic performance and some princely examination results from her students.
Mrs Wall also went on to say that: "If you've never been to one of Debbie's productions, then you've missed a treat." Before Lockdown put a temporary end to such things, the school's triumphant production of the musical 'Hairspray'* was a prime example of this. The cast's performances seemed so polished and effortless that it might seem, for the audience, that the whole business of staging such a production was a 'breeze'; but the truth is something very different - with hours and hours being devoted to planning, rehearsing and, as Debbie confesses, "screaming" at the cast. As Mrs. Wall adds: "She expects so much of the students, because she expects so much of herself."
In an emotional speech, Debbie said that she had drawn comparisons to Helen Mirren. While such a comparison may be meant as a compliment, it was also somewhat galling to be associated with one who, with all due respect, is of somewhat senior status. In her early days, the comparisons were made to a youthful Kim Basinger! But it's a reminder that time keeps moving on, and now seems like a good time for Debbie to move on too and enjoy her retirement.
Before teaching at Urmston, Debbie had worked with the National Youth Theatre, and had even worked with models, training them to flaunt their fashionwear on the catwalk!
While knowing that retirement is right for her, Debbie admits that she will miss the energy, the enthusiasm and the banter of the students. And she will miss the camaraderie and friendship of her colleagues.
Wishing you a long and happy retirement, Mrs. Ripolles!
*Musical director: Ms J. Langham