Girls in Prep–Year 2 were the driving force behind their own drama project, Tree Tales. Performed in mid-August in the Fahan School TM Hall, the production was a joyous celebration of creative skills.
Over a period of several months, the girls worked with Drama teacher, Ms Christine Best. She ensured that the students’ ideas were central to the creation of the performance. Year 2 girls had recently read Enid Blyton’s The Enchanted Wood and wanted to use it as their inspiration. From this initial idea, each class chose a “world” to fit the theme: Prep, insects; Year 1, sea and rain forest creatures and Year 2, fairy tale and evil characters. Their main focus initially was improvising and creating the narrative – as the scenes were developed the teacher would ask, ‘What happens next?’ and the students would provide plot advances. Once the structure was developed, a choreographer was employed to add some simple movement.
The girls drew their own costume designs and their creative and innovative Prep–Year 2 classroom teachers crafted them. The teachers were inspiring, using their collective wealth of experience to bring the students’ ideas to life.
The decision to perform in the round meant the actors and audience could sit in a circle and it became an interactive event. This meant girls had to develop sophisticated performing skills as audience was on four sides instead of one. Feedback from the girls shows just how much they enjoyed the experience:
“I Liked practising the underwater dance with Joshua.” Harper, Year 1
“I liked the costumes and the music.” Caroline, Year 1
“I liked everything because everyone was happy.” Deeksha, Year 1
Ms Best said: “The young performers totally embraced the process and owned their characters – they kept adding, building and developing the project, even as they were performing.”
“Student involvement in the dramatic process is integral to the school’s philosophy, which is Reggio Emilia based, encouraging thinking, questioning and discussing to inspire creativity. Tree Tales has been a really great example of how an innovative approach to performing arts can put joy at the centre of creative endeavor,” said Head of Junior School, Amanda Evans.