During the summer term, the children worked towards their end of term production. As a small company, I wanted to ensure that all the children were involved fairly equally and, after scouring the internet for plays that may be suitable for a cast of about 15 young people, mainly girls, I drew a blank. We therefore decided to write our own!
I asked children for their ideas on what the play should be about and the themes they veered towards were more issue based than comedy. The idea which was finally decided upon involved a lonely ten year old who befriends a boy who turns out to be the ghost of her sibling who died on the day that she was born. The tale involved caring but distant parents with a mum who was clinically depressed as well a group of bullying girls who teased the girl when they saw her playing with her ghostly friend – they couldn’t see the ghost, of course! The play gave the children plenty of scope to develop characters and they enjoyed improvising scenes during rehearsals to get to know the personalities and traits of their parts.
Writing our own play was a great way to ensure that everyone had good characters to play which suited them. It also meant I could add and subtract parts as children joined the company, or left. Although I wrote the majority of the script, some of the children added their own scenes and lines.
Children have this uncanny ability to ‘pull things out of the bag’ at the last minute. As it is very difficult to create a quality performance on just weekly performances, I scheduled in a whole Sunday rehearsal the day before the show – the week before, some of them still hadn’t learnt their lines! I also threw a song into the mix a week before performance (a bit mean) and emailed them all the words and the backing track. I was so impressed by the dedication the children showed in that last rehearsal. They had all learnt their words and the song and worked with focus and dedication.
The children did me proud! They gave a polished and slick performance to their parents. Well done to all of them.
Photos of the production can be seen in the gallery.