Late night snacks, energy drinks and sheer determination kept a group of Bushey music students going through the night to produce an entire opera in 24 hours.

The Purcell School, of Aldenham Road, was the setting for the 24-hour challenge, which saw 51 people come together to compose, choreograph, create the set and perform the opera.

This is the first time the challenge has been attempted in Europe and the first time any school has attempted it anywhere in the world.

It all began on Friday at 7pm, exactly 24 hours before the opera was performed, with five composers coming together to decide what the plot would be.

The story centred on a man in a coma, who was recalling memories from some of the key moments in his life, such as his first love, being stuck in a dead end job and moments from his childhood.

Composer, Sophie Sparkes, 17, said: "We wanted the whole stage to represent the man’s brain. He encounters memories from his life, but none of it’s chronological, ending with his childhood.

"With memories you think of something which then triggers something else, so we deliberately wanted a certain amount of spontaneity to it."

With five acts, each composer was assigned a memory and at 9.30pm they set about composing.

Assistant director of music, Edward Longstaff, who played the lead, said: "It was an extraordinary experience, but also very challenging for the students - putting them under the same pressures as world-famous composers."

The young composers worked through the night, with one of their parents dressed in a chef’s outfit arriving with snacks at around 1am.

The following morning, the conductors, orchestra and backstage crew arrived to start putting everything together.

Conductor, Phelan Burgoyne, 18, said: "It was all pretty grim when we arrived in the morning - the composition was so demanding and there was a huge amount of energy required from all of us."

There were six large boards on stage positioned inwards, which set designer, Jemima Goodall, 16, said she did in order to "represent an enclosed space with lots of crevices to mimic the brain".

Flute player, Laura Davies, said the first time the 30 minute performance was played all the way through was during the live performance.

Laura added: "I didn’t realise just how much hard work it would be, but I really enjoyed it as I was given a prominent part. We are all still recovering."

Head of Composition, Alison Cox, said: "The performance went fantastically well, with the students producing a lively, moving little opera.

"From the minute the whole process started I knew it would be alright - we were all so highly motivated to get it right."

Ms Cox said she wanted to thank the Royal Academy of Music’s Johnny Ramster and Karin Hendricksen who offered their expertise to help put the show together.