YORK is set to welcome the premiere of show based on one of Hollywood’s best-selling music-themed comedies.

The Joseph Rowntree Theatre will play host to York Light Youth’s (YLY) production of School of Rock from November 8 to 11, including a matinee performance.

The show is based on the $131 million smash movie from 2003 starring Jack Black and follows failed wannabe rock star Dewey Finn into a prestigious prep school where he poses as a qualified music teacher.

York Press: The prep school are not prepared for Dewey Finn's arrival in School of RockThe prep school are not prepared for Dewey Finn's arrival in School of Rock (Image: York Light Youth)

Once there, Dewey discovers his students don’t have a clue about rock ‘n’ roll and sets about moulding them into a rock band that enters a ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition.

Along the way, he finds romance, self-worth, a proper job and passes on his curriculum of rock music to pupils and parents.

Director Sue Hawksworth was previously assistant director of York Light Opera Company and has worked on productions ranging from Sound of Music and Oliver to South Pacific and The King & I.

Assistant director Gavin Shaw has also performed with YLY as Officer Krupke in 2016’s West Side Story.

Leads Jonny Holbek and Emma Dickinson – the latter playing formidable school headteacher Rosalie Mullins - have recently appeared opposite each other in York Light Opera Company’s 2022 production of Evita.


Flynn Coultous and Georgia Foster take on the roles of Ned Schneebly (Dewey’s long-suffering flatmate) and his girlfriend, Paty Di Marco.

Best friends Flynn and Georgia have been performing together since they were aged seven and five.

School of Rock is unique among musicals as not just one, but two bands play live on stage.

Adult band ‘No Vacancy’ features cast members and musicians Jonny Holbek, Matt Tapp, Ant Pengally and Kathryn Lay, supported by Ben Huntley and Mike Hampton.

York Press: York Light Youth in rehearsalsYork Light Youth in rehearsals (Image: York Light Youth)

The kids’ band, ‘School of Rock’, is made up of four talented musicians including Sam Brophy, finalist in the BBC’s ‘Young Chorister of the Year’ competition in 2022.

Guitarist Ollive Lee was in Minster FM’s very own ‘Battle of the Bands’ final in 2019, aged nine.

Bella Smith took up playing base guitar less than a year ago, like her character Katie and last but by no means least, 10-year-old Finley Walters is on drums.

Finey performed at the RSL Virtual Music Festival in 2021.

School of Rock is at The Joseph Rowntree Theatre from November 8-11 and tickets are available here.