On Friday 17th February the pupils in Transition, Reception and Year 1 excitedly embarked on their coach journey to the Hippodrome Theatre to watch Birmingham Royal Ballet perform excerpts from Cinderella. This specially adapted interactive show allowed us to step into the magical world of Cinderella, where the Fairy Godmother triumphed over the cruel stepmother and ugly sisters; a pumpkin turned into a sparkling carriage and a jewelled slipper changed Cinderella’s life forever.
Our Norfolk House children were absolutely captivated, as were the accompanying staff, by the mix of wonderful dance, spectacular scenery, and a cast of amazing characters that included midnight stars, fairies, mice, lizards and even a dancing frog.
The ballet was interspersed with explanations from a narrator of the musical score by Sergei Prokofiev and we heard each section of the orchestra play their instruments, even helping to count the midnight chimes of the clock performed on the tubular bells. A feast of dance, jubilant music and costumes was intermingled with scenes in which the storyteller introduced the children to the leading characters and shared some technical magic; a perfect introduction to ballet. The storyteller had the audience participating in both magic and mime which not only taught perspectives of the ballet choreography by David Bintley but also delighted our children and captured every imagination.
There are so many benefits of live theatre apart from the immense pleasure it provides. Watching a live performance provides a sense of vitality as well as a memorable experience socially, culturally and emotionally. Educationally, taking the children to the theatre boosts their literacy learning cultivating their curiosity and teaching them to imagine the unimaginable; skills necessary for creative writing. Theatre also connects to the importance of reading and has the ability to jump a story off the page and bring it to life. This can be a revelation to regular ‘bookworms’ but also a real positive effect for reluctant readers who may not show a natural interest in reading. Live theatre can help engage these children into reading texts so that they become skilled and even enthusiastic. The timeless Cinderella story of love, courage and kindness reminds us all to have faith in our wildest dreams; someday they might just come true.
The children in the Reception class are currently immersed in a cross-curricular topic based on Cinderella and ballet which now has been brought to life with the theatre trip. A real treat for us all!
May I add as a postscript that I was extremely proud of our Norfolk House School children who became completely engaged in the performance and interacted so sensibly. Looking across at the expressions on their faces showing delight and concentration brought a tear to my eye! I was even stopped by numerous members of the public and Hippodrome Theatre staff congratulating and commending our children on their impeccable behaviour. Very well done children!
Reporter: Mrs Hifle
Head of Lower School