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This morning we did a big show in the MacRobert Centre – a proper theatre in the grounds of Stirling University. About 450 children were there, so that the book signing afterwards took two and a half hours! It was lovely to catch the excitement of the children assembling their props in a real backstage area. Gartconner School did a great performance of Rumble in the Jungle (the same book we saw in Thurso).
Two very clearly-spoken older children, with red snakes round their necks, did the narration while some very little ones mimed the different animals enthusiastically; I especially liked the flea-eating monkeys, the tiptoeing giraffes, and the “galloping gorgeous gazelles”. A teacher sitting in the audience supplied tom-tom and tambourine accompaniment, and at the end all the children did a jungle dance to a backing track.
The second performance here was an excellent musical version of the Grimm’s story Hansel and Gretel, written and directed by a talented teacher who also played the keyboard. This was perhaps the most accomplished show we have seen so far. Gretel was superb, and projected so well that she didn’t need a microphone in the big venue. I liked the way the cast included several witches (and one wizard!) instead of just one, and there was some inventive mime and staging, with Gretel creating the oven by lifting one leg and pushing the witches under it. I was particularly pleased to see two boys (both of them deaf) standing on the stage and signing the story to some other deaf children in the audience.
Our contribution to the event was What the Ladybird Heard and The Gruffalo in Scots (with Malcolm as all three predators and the Gruffalo, swapping headgear very swiftly behind a screen, with Mike as his dresser. We also did the Nut Tree poem and song, which was extra enjoyable as some of the children acting it out were already dressed as trees (from the Hansel and Gretel forest). Six children came on the stage at the end to ask me questions – all really good ones. (Sometimes instead of asking questions they say things like, “I’ve got three of your books at home.”)
It was a brilliant day. The performances were such fun and the audience seemed to really enjoy them too. Beth and Mike were very busy using their acting/production talents being police, stage assistants, a nut that grows to a tree, and so many other things that they did not have time to write much about what they were up to. The children were all very excited to meet Julia and have their books signed and they were also very patient – Malcolm helped keep everyone’s spirits up by playing guitar and singing to the queue (someone wondered if he was singing Pinball Wizard at one point!)
We enjoyed chatting to some of the teachers who had worked so hard with their schools, it was very nice to meet Katrina Lucas from Comely Park Primary School.
Beth is now considering moving to Stirling but has been told by Chris Newton (Acting Children’s Programme Manager) there are hardly any flats for rent – foiled again!
Washing clothes and re-packing!
Ditto. And sleeping!
A short book signing in Waterstones Argyle Street Glasgow and then off with the team to Dunoon, ready for the next three days of libraries
Lovely drive down the Clyde to the ferry terminal. A windy, yet beautiful crossing too.
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