Youngsters sample life on stage
Seventy children from three Breckland schools were given a rare chance to perform on stage at the Norwich Theatre Royal on Sunday.Primary school pupils from Garboldisham, Kenninghall and East Harling had worked with professional musicians, singers, and drama tutors to create mini-operas, inspired by the Northern Ballet Theatre's interpretation of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Seventy children from three Breckland schools were given a rare chance to perform on stage at the Norwich Theatre Royal on
Primary school pupils from Garboldisham, Kenninghall and East Harling had worked with professional musicians, singers, and drama tutors to create mini-operas, inspired by the Northern Ballet Theatre's interpretation of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
And the youngsters demonstrated their enthusiasm and flair during rehearsals last Friday, led by Howard Moody, who has had a successful career as an international music director.
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“It is an extraordinary project as the children start with nothing and they create their own songs and movements. We have taken bits of Shakespeare - the general idea of family conflict where the children escape into the forest and find their real selves which is the story, but we haven't copied the ballet's interpretation,” he explained.
“The children are always very engaged. They come in and they are completely bowled over by it.”
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Kenninghall Primary School headteacher, Georgina Livingstone, said youngsters who came to watch the dress rehearsal were “absolutely gobsmacked” by the performance.
“It has been a fantastic opportunity for the children to produce something that brings together all the creative skills of music, dance and drama. The children's confidence has mushroomed and their self-esteem has grown enormously, especially among those who are normally a bit shy.
“I feel really proud of the children and they are very lucky to have had this opportunity. I said to the children they will never forget this and the memories will be with them for the rest of their lives.”
Breckland Council funded the project which aims to break down the barriers associated with the arts and the theatre.
Steve Askew, the council's executive member for culture, said: “In addition to bringing theatre into our community, the Norwich Theatre Royal sells some 20,000 tickets to Breckland residents each year. This shows the value of this fantastic county facility to our residents, and we were delighted to contribute to the programme of modernisation for the theatre.”
Workshop sessions were held throughout last week, building up to Sunday's performance - tickets for which were free.