The Cotton Mill
GAF 2017 had several events and performances surrounding the two week festival. One of these events was an opera performed by students from Perry Wood, Riverley, Willow Brook and Stantonbury Campus, with music from our Head of Music, Lewis Delivett. The Cotton Mill is a fantastic example of how the Griffin Arts Festival can bring students from across the country, and across our school family, together to contribute to and celebrate an art form not usually experienced by primary school children.
The Cotton Mill performed on 7 July, 7pm at St Mary with St Edward and St Luke Church in Leyton, East London.
James And The Giant Peach
The GST schools were involved in two very exciting, joint theatre projects, both of which have been performed in their own schools and toured as part of GAF 2017. The productions have come about over many months of collaborative work between students and staff from different schools, following a creative process that a professional theatre company might adopt in developing an original piece of theatre. This was the start of many more high quality, original productions taking place across the trust.
To mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Roald Dahl, pupils studied his work in their lessons and decided they wanted to base the production on the very well known novel ‘James and the Giant Peach’. As a company we took this famous book as our starting point and, over months, devised our own production. The children moved very quickly from learning basic drama skills to working out how to adapt the action and characters in the book into theatre. Working alongside the arts staff, they also wrote the lyrics for the songs, designed the costumes and worked as stage managers.
The children showed incredible commitment, turning up after school every week from November as well as taking part in extra rehearsals during their holidays. Following very successful performances in their own East London schools, we took the show to Medway and toured all our Kent schools in one day!
MeandYoutopia started life back in October 2016 with 30 year 5 students being brought together on a weekly basis from all 3 of our Griffins Schools Trust Medway Primaries – Saxon Way, Kingfisher and Lordswood.
The idea was to create with the pupils a new play entirely from scratch in response to the Trust theme of Utopia, using their ideas and working alongside a professional playwright, Ben Hales. For most of the cast this was their first experience of structured drama work.
The original concept of Utopia is famously attributed to Thomas More (1478-1535). More’s Utopia was an island society – we used this idea in our play – and he created detailed maps and descriptions of how he imagined life there.
The point of Utopian thinking is usually to tackle the question ‘How do we make the world a better place?’ Utopia is different for everyone. The cast all considered their own Utopia and these included everything from world peace to ice-cream on tap; a place where everyone can be themselves, free wi-fi; a place with no crowds, less pollution, more trees… One very real positive outcome of the work was the coming together of the students and the staff. Having started rehearsals as three different and separate schools, the end result was one company.