Bollington Festival Music Theatre has a remarkable 32 years history of putting on unusual and innovative shows with words and music, performed by children, on stage, in costume, with lighting, sound and live music. Many are specially written by the group’s director Donald Judge, telling a wide range of stories based on folk tales, true events, or inspired by Bollington and its surroundings. The shows always tackle, in a child friendly way, important issues.
The coming show is about just one group of child migrants – from Britain rather than to it. Over the summer, Donald will be writing a brand new show – Canada Calling! – to rehearse and perform in the Autumn, with Sunday afternoon rehearsals and a performance in November.
This free afternoon session (lasting 2 hours) will include participatory drama and music activities, and free refreshments. Parents are very welcome to stay or to leave their children in safe hands. The subject of the planned show will be explored and the children can contribute their thoughts and ideas which will form the basis of the script and songs.
Canada Calling! is based on the experiences of children living in Britain in the 1930s. Everyone knows that when World War Two broke out, many children were evacuated from cities to mainly rural locations. But there were many children for whom the wrench from their parents was much longer lasting. They were either orphans or from large families in slums where parents were too poor to care for them. For many years, hundreds of children from Birmingham alone made the long sea and land crossing to Canada. There, they were often split up from their friends or brothers and sisters and were found new homes, often on farm schools. Contact between the children and their parents was forbidden.
Some children thrived in a healthier environment, but some were desperately homesick, and some forced to work long hours in dangerous conditions. In many cases, children never saw their own family again, while some were only reunited as adults. Children attending will be able to express their thoughts and feelings, and it’s hoped they will return in September to sample the finished result and hopefully to take part in it. Of course, it’s fine just to attend this workshop!
All comers will be welcome – for both the workshop and rehearsals – with no auditions and participation in the performance guaranteed.
(Scattered children image credit: modified from Philip Howard’s “theirhistory” photostream on Flickr.com)