Archive for January, 2010

Class 5’s Triumph!

January 27, 2010

It’s hard to believe, but the Corner Shop School and Community Production is now over, which means it is the end of the project…

…or is it?

Class 5 performed to two packed houses last Friday. Shopkeepers, tea party guests, archvisits, theatre people, parents, grandparents and 65 other children came to the promenade production, which took them on a journey of the hall, library and cookery room through stories of Whitmore Reans’ past, a fabric shop, a barber’s, a fishmonger’s (yes – with real fish!), and an intimate shared kitchen. They feasted on delicious foods, smelled raw fish, watched hauntingly beautiful shadow puppetry, heard the most fantastic vocal soundscapes, and were totally absorbed by the most rivetting performances.

None left disappointed.

“I thought the show was fantastic!  I was overwhelmed with it all: their acting, the way that they spoke – they were brilliant! The food, the dresses! I look forward to seeing anything that they’re doing again. Anything!”  (tea party interviewee and audience member)

 “What was so impressive was the obvious enjoyment, commitment and focus of the children across the board. They have clearly had a ball – and learned so many skills. They answered questions so well too!” (university lecturer and audience member)

“I hope that one day some of them will become actors, because of this piece of work”  (shopkeeper and audience member)

” This has really helped my son with his confidence. He’s really come out of his shell and it’s lovely. And the play was spot on!” (parent and audience member)

The children’s growth in confidence as performers was enormous, right through from the dress rehearsal, to the first and then the second performance. 

One audience member and interviewee from the tea party asked the question: “So what next? What’s going to happen with all of this?”

Nicole – the student placement from Wolverhampton University, who has helped on the project throughout – answered: “I think the children will carry this project in their minds forever. It will continue through the way they behave and shop in their local community. They understand the value and the importance of supporting local small businesses as opposed to the big chain stores. So the project will live on through the choices they make, and how they pass that on to their children and grandchildren.”

Today Year 5 did their class assembly on the whole process of the Corner Shop project in front of the school – from receiving the mystery box back in October to the final performances.

This week I  go in to evaluate the whole project with the children and staff. 

We then need to discuss what the children want to put in the archive box for us deposit at the City Archives.  I’m told also that audience members have been sending in letters of thanks to the children for their wonderful performance.

So perhaps this isn’t the end afterall…

Lisa Harrison – Foursight Theatre’s education and outreach co-ordinator

Devising with Class 5

January 18, 2010

Well, the impossible has happened: class 5 of West Park Primary School has devised a play in 4 days! On Thursday we rehearse it, and on Friday we perform it, to two audiences! At the end of the fourth devising day, one pupil said very poignantly: “When I think back to when we received that mystery box, and where we are now, it’s incredible really!”

Talk about focused work! Class 5 has done itself more than proud. They’re still brimming with ideas, their performances keep growing and improving,  as does their understanding of what entertaining and meaningful ensemble theatre is.

Purvin, the designer, and Heather, the sound artist, have joined us the last 4 days to help realise our vision. Taking our inspiration from Foursight and BCT’s Corner Shop Co-Production in the Mander Centre, and the many people we’ve met in Whitmore Reans whilst doing our research, we’ve made what promises to be a truly unique promenade production.

The tea party interviewees, and many of the shop keepers we interviewed are coming to the show, plus Year 4 and Year 6, as well as parents, of course. We are all very excited and can’t wait to hear what they think of our work.

Lisa Harrison