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Last Updated:  Monday, 24 March, 2003, 17:34 GMT
From Wiltshire to the West End
Pupils from Dauntsey's School perform Les Miserables
Sir Cameron Mackintosh invited the pupils to London
Students who put together the first school production of Les Miserables have taken the smash-hit show to London.

Children from Dauntsey's School, Wiltshire, staged a sell-out run of the musical last year.

They secured the rights after a former pupil who now works for theatre impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh put in a good word for them.

And the producer was so impressed he invited them to perform on a real West End stage.

More than 100 students involved in the original production had the chance to tread the boards at London's Prince of Wales theatre.

Again they played to a full house - and their hard work was rewarded with a standing ovation from the audience.

Pupils from Dauntsey's School perform Les Miserables
The pupils performed to a sell-out crowd

Rikki Jackson, director of drama at the school, near Devizes, said: "This is really the only chance we will ever get to be on a West End stage.

"There are one or two who I wouldn't be surprised to see up here in future.

"But for most of us - myself included - this is a great opportunity."

Les Miserables is one of the world's best known and loved stage musicals.

Based on Victor Hugo's classic novel, it takes in three turbulent decades of 19th Century French history.

It tells the story of one man, the fugitive Jean Valjean, pitted against the self-righteous Inspector Javert in a lifelong struggle to evade capture.

The musical has been seen by more than 50 million people worldwide, with a total box office gross of more than $1.8bn.

There have been 53 productions in 34 countries, and the UK version of the show, at the Palace Theatre, is in its 17th year.

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