Charades transfomed 98 individuals into a professional musical production in 2 days. Cleverly written with catchy tunes. The teamwork was incredible, the performance was outstanding and the parents and audience were held spellbound throughout. Certainly had the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end! Can't wait for the next show to be written.
Gill Baillie, Depute Head Teacher at Law Primary School
We were offered this project through East Lothian Council. I was most impressed that this particular production had been written and produced using East Lothian as the 'hook' for the story and music.The original production had been performed in its entirety by another local primary school and I was excited that the material had then been adapted for use by other schools in a format that was accessible in the primary classroom.
The team from Charades are highly talented and skilled musicians and I am most impressed by their abilities in working with such young people. They were able to engage and hold the interest of these young children, ages 9-11, and work with them to produce an excellent piece which was shared with parents and friends of the school. The team are very talented and the music is beautiful and, at times, haunting. The team provided super and appropriate costumes and the children absolutely loved 'dressing up'.
There is little enough in the way of funded professional support in primary schools and I sincerely hope that this group are able to continue their work and develop other pieces that may work well in the primary setting.
M.R. Tremmel, Head Teacher at Gullane Primary School
I have worked with Charades Theatre Company over the last two years and have found that all three members of the team work very well together and really relate well with the children with whom they work. There is no necessity for a musical background for the class teachers involved as the show pack contains all the necessary elements, lyrics, background information, rehearsal CD and performance CD, topic related worksheets and suggested further research items. Charades provide all necessary musical support that is required throughout the project.
Their ability to choose appropriate curricular themes, write excellent tunes with clever lyrics along with great delivery skills allows the company to do it all, create, prepare, give rehearsal advice and then perform their musical shows. Their teacher's pack contain many additional activities and notes which allows a real cross-curricular approach and these shows fit beautifully within a curriculum for excellence as well as really harnessing the four capacities.
I have rigorous evaluation procedures in place that takes account of both the teachers and the children's viewpoints and I am delighted to say that there has been very positive feedback for the shows and workshops that have been carried out in East Lothian.
Patrick Holden, Former Youth Music Initiative Coordinator at East Lothian Council
The feedback from staff, our children and their families was excellent. In fact we could not wait to have Charades back working in our school. Staff were very well supported in teaching the pupils the songs and the resource materials provided were easy to use . Pupils were very motivated without exception. This is something that we as a school continually strive for but have never been able to achieve. The whole event was pulled together professionally with only a buzz of excitement. We have had many professional productions at our school but this was the first time that the pupils had actually been the stars in their own show - which parents thought was better than many professional shows they had . In fact one member of staff stated that it was better than a show she had just seen in London. High praise indeed! Most importantly the children learned so much and enjoyed performing.
Liz Barton, Head Teacher at Strathesk Primary
I was very impressed with the Charades team. Moira, Robin and James were fantastic with our P5 and P6 classes. Their workshops were well-paced and organised and the team maintained the children's interest and enthusiasm throughout. Our 'King Loth' musical was a huge success and the responses from the audiences of P1-P7 pupils and parents were extremely positive.
The P5 and P6 classes loved the whole experience of participating in a musical and performing together with the Charades team helped to build the children's confidence. My P5 class really enjoyed learning the catchy songs and accompanying actions and they were well motivated throughout. Their comments clearly reflect this:
"The Charades people were lots of fun and it didn't matter if you got stuck with something like singing or actions."
"I liked that the costumes turned inside out."
"The drama games were good fun."
"I wish we could do it again next year!"
"It was good that the show looked like a theatre that had lights, black curtains and costumes and everything."
"I was very nervous but I am more confident about singing in front of everybody now."
Karen Thomson, Principal Teacher Sanderson's Wynd Primary
King Loth has inspired our pupils beyond belief. The story and characters were well thought out and immediately captured the imagination of all our pupils, boys and girls alike. The lyrical melodies, although challenging, inspired our cast and they had no difficulty at all in learning any of the songs. Three weeks after the performance and they are still singing them. This musical has been carefully crafted by the composers to encompass, tragedy, comedy, love and hope in a most delightful and dramatic form. It has been, with no doubt, the best musical we have performed.
Anne Traill, Music specialist at Yester Primary School
The experience of putting together and performing The Legend of King Loth was an excellent and challenging opportunity for the children of P5 to work co-operatively with their peers across P6 and P7. We used our drama and singing skills as well as the inter personal language & communication skills needed. The children loved working with the Charades company, who brought their learning to life in the most amazing way! The feedback from parents was positive and all were moved by the children's performance! We would love to be involved again. More please Charades! And thanks again - many CfE outcomes well and truly met in an enterprising, engaging and stimulating way!
Yvonne Hart, P5 Class Teacher at Longniddry Primary School
From start to finish this production was a fantastic experience, for all the participating pupils, which covered many aspects of the curriculum. A number of the class were initially very reluctant to take part. However this all changed once they heard the music and realised no one was going to be singled out and that everyone was going to be equal. Every pupil was highly motivated and focused, even the most reluctant learners. The children were inspired to find out about some of the history of Edinburgh through personal research into the lives of Burke and Hare and included in their information some brilliantly, gruesome models.
Comments from parents and staff were highly complementary both of your production and the pupils' performance. Some were even amazed their child was willing to take part. I would encourage every school to invite you in to work with their pupils, as it is a very rewarding experience for everyone concerned. My only regret is that as I have primary 4 this year my class will not be participating. I am however very much looking forward to being in the audience.
Sheila Wilson, Class Teacher at Strathesk Primary