As part of a module at University, my course (Performing Arts Education) had several rehearsal workshops building up towards a performance aimed at key stage one children in primary school. After a few brainstorming sessions, as a group we agreed on a story line that used characters that children already know. So we decided to choose our own characters, they included:
- Jack and Jill (Both detectives) – Played by Sharmarke Mahamed & Jodie Wheeler
- Mother Goose – Played by Ashley Chinn
- Mad Hatter – Jake Venning
- Captain Hook – Tom Mallender
- The Wicked Witch – Lois Woodward/Kayleigh Jones
From there we chose a theme that children in Key Stage 1 could relate to. We came up with a handful of themes but the one we all thought the children would connect to most was ‘Leaving people out’. So we decided to make the Wicked Witch the ‘Baddie’ of the piece initially because she had stolen an item from Mother Goose, The Mad Hatter and Captain Hook. However, she had stolen all these items because she felt left out from the rest of the group we showed this through our opening song which I re-wrote the lyrics to (Opening song lyrics). The rest of the performance came together quickly because we had these two fundamental pieces of information that linked to all the characters together. I worked closely with Jodie Wheeler (Detective Jill) and I wrote a script for us both to work off and improvise around (Hook lost his hook script).
The reason why I wanted to play the infamous Captain Hook was because he was a challenging character with lots of energy and I thought that I could make him loosing his Hook really comedic to the children partly because he’s portrayed as a scary character in most films, t.v programmes or pantomimes. You can see some of my other research on Captain Hook on the MTC blog on the page named Hot Seating Hook.
We performed this piece four times at three primary schools (St Paul’s Catholic Primary School, College Road Primary School and Horrabridge Community Primary School) and at an educational festival hosted by all the education students at Plymouth Marjon University. We had some fantastic feedback regarding the performance through teachers, teaching assistants, volunteers and of course the children! After each performance we asked the school if the children could fill out a smiley face chart to show what they liked and didn’t like as part of our performance. They can be seen underneath.