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"It's over now, our story's at an end"
But the memories will linger on!

Well done to everyone involved in this fantastic production.

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Production Year at St Peter’s is always an exciting time, anticipated by pupils and staff alike.  Teachers had spent time at the end of the previous academic year looking at potential shows.  When The Tempest emerged as a possibility there was an air of caution at first.  Shakespeare?  Could we? Should we? Dare we? Such questions brought out the courage in a group of teachers, and with a ‘once more unto the breach!’ we elected to go with The Bard!

The ethos of Production Club is ‘if you want to be in it, you’re in it’.  The purpose of auditions was simply to assign parts to pupils. This part of the process was lengthy, for a good reason.  We simply had so many enthusiastic pupils wanting to ‘have a go’.  The audition part of this project was awesome in that so many pupils came forward to sing and act for the Production Team, and the level of audition preparation was high indeed.  It was a privilege to hear and see what the children could do, and it was also exciting to realise that we had such a strong cast with which to work.

A schedule was set up involving after-school rehearsals on Thursday and some Saturdays in Michaelmas Term.  After the Christmas break every Saturday was a rehearsal Saturday, and the turnout was excellent.  This production was very well supported by parents who were also appreciative of the amount of personal time teachers were giving up for the project.  There was always an air of ‘we’re in it together’ and none more so than from the children, who were so receptive and responsive to what they were asked to do in rehearsals.  It very quickly became evident that the best way into Shakespeare for children is to actually engage in its performance.  Shakespeare in education is two-dimensional if it is presented simply as a text to read together in class.  This was so much more exciting!

The production of The Tempest was six months in the making and it was an incredible journey for all involved, including the Production Team. We were fortunate to have the significant input of Mr & Mrs Payne, who seem to have chosen retirement as an opportunity to donate even more of their time to St Peter’s School!  Mrs Payne directed and choreographed this production and Mr Payne was in charge of constructing the stage, sound and lighting, as well as ticket and programme design.  The time they spent at home working out scenes and dances moved the production on so swiftly, more than any other in recent years. 

Mrs Van Rensburg and Mrs Tye’s help was crucial because they took on the unenviable task of gently harnessing the enthusiasm (!) of our cast during Saturday rehearsals.  Mrs Cruickshank once again injected magic into the young voices of our cast, showing that whilst it is no mean feat to get children to sing in harmony while they are on stage and in character, Mrs Cruickshank can sort it! Mrs Sant organised the costumes assisted by Mrs Hodgson-Moffat and teachers helping in the changing rooms on performance nights. Mrs Drage Jnr and Snr  joined staff in organising the makeup. After four months of rehearsal it was wonderful to see our cast taking on their characters so much more when given fantastic costumes and artistic make-up. 

We marvelled at the artistic talent of Mrs Dreyer’s visual creation of The Tempest, in the production’s set design. From sketches and discussions followed by long hours of solo painting, Mrs Dreyer provided us with an amazing set.  The music for The Tempest was brought alive by the talents of Mike Kilsby on drums and Andrew Loake on bass and electric fiddle.  They have been involved in many productions over the last eight years and once again, it was a real treat for me to join them on piano in the band!

The Tempest debuted to staff and pupils in Foundation and Key Stage One on Tuesday 9th February.  We were thrilled when Father John from the Parish of St Peter and Paul also dropped by to watch some of the dress rehearsal.  And then there were the performance nights…..very special nights with full houses each time,  The opening night was big on sparkle and low on nerves.  It was also the night that was recorded for posterity, I am pleased to report!  By the second night the cast were electric and the third night, although tinged for some of us with the sadness of ‘it all’ soon being over, brought another very special performance as the cast and crew met together for the last time to give of their all to the audience.

A School Production gives staff and pupils the chance to work together in a different manner to that of the classroom experience.  It is possible to get to know the children in another way. The excitement we see in the eyes of the children and the talent on display makes all the hard work completely worthwhile.

I hope that pupils, parents and teachers will keep the memory of our production of The Tempest in their hearts for ever…I know that I will.
 


The Hobgoblins


The Main Characters


The Production Team


The Sprites

Rehearsals

The first day back at school ended with a well attended rehearsal for The Tempest. Members of Production Club and the production team were pleased to get back to working together. Now that there are less than five weeks until the performances there is an even greater air of excitement in the air.

The stage was put up the day before everyone’s return to School by Messers Payne, Dreyer and Chapman together with some invaluable assistance from Danny Holmes, Alan Thompson & Malcolm Abrams. Mrs Dreyer has the set design drafted and work has started on painting it onto the stage flats. Thanks to parents for responding quickly to Mrs Sant’s call for costume. The programme is ‘under construction’ and the tickets have been designed. There has even been a band rehearsal with Mr Kilsby and Mr Loake.

We have already had a Saturday rehearsal this term. In fact, every Saturday until half term is a ‘Rehearsal Saturday’, so thank you to the pupils and particularly the staff for giving up such a substantial amount of their weekend time to bring this performance to as high a standard as we can. With all of this work going on we hope that each show will be a sell-out! .

 

 

 
First time on the stage

 
Mrs Payne teaching the Hobgoblin Dance


Miranda, Prospero and some of the Sprites


Pupils read through the script..there is much to do!

Plot outline

Prospero is a magician. He and his daughter Miranda have been marooned on a desert island for many years, after Prospero's brother Antonio betrayed him. Now, Prospero uses his magical power to cause a tempest (a storm), bringing a passing ship onto the rocks. Among the survivors are Antonio and other treacherous characters, all of whom are brought to justice, after plenty of mischief has taken place!

The themes and the material have been managed so that they are suitable for Junior performers, with the script and songs written in contemporary English.

Production team

The production team comprises Mrs Cruickshank, Mrs Dreyer and Mr & Mrs Payne and myself. As the production develops, many other staff members become involved in costume, scenery and stage management. We are also fortunate to have fantastic musicians joining me and Mrs Cruickshank, in the shape of Mike Kilsby and Andrew Loake. The forthcoming Art Week in January will provide an opportunity for children in all year groups to be involved in the art work that underpins the production, and in this way we develop what is essentially a whole-school production. Production year is always a very exciting time at St Peter’s School! I am grateful to staff for volunteering a large part of their free time to this project. Of course, the most important ‘players’ are our cast, and we thank them in advance for the work they will undertake to create a show that we hope will be very special…to them, to their families and to the School

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