Children from three local primary schools joined their Year 5 peers at St Joseph’s College Prep School Ipswich for a day of intensive musical theatre workshops, all led by West End performers. The day culminated in a showcase for parents when the boys and girls demonstrated what they had learned with aplomb.
Eighty-four nine and ten-year-olds from St Margaret’s, Copdock and Bentley primary schools travelled to St Jo’s via the College mini-buses to take part. Introductions were soon made and the children were split into three mixed school groups to concentrate on scenes from Frozen, Aladdin and Matilda, three of the most popular musicals for their age group.
The outreach programme aimed to share the benefits St Jo’s students are lucky enough to derive from the College’s partnership with Arts International more widely among the children of the Ipswich area. Three practitioners brought the workshops alive: Daniel Loosely, a first-class musical director, orchestrator and accompanist, stage and screen actor James Westphal, and choreographer and multidisciplinary artist Jonathon Prestney, who has worked alongside such stars as Little Mix.
Mrs Vicki Harvey, Vice Principal – Co-curricular and Head of Creative and Performing Arts at St Jo’s, was thrilled by how wholeheartedly the children participated, saying: ‘These are the stars of today and tomorrow. Each and everyone has worked incredibly hard, learning scripts, choreography and songs. They have all had to come out of their comfort zones and take risks, and it has been wonderful to watch their beaming smiles widening throughout each of the sessions.’
Some 40 proud parents and grandparents formed the audience at St Joseph’s showpiece modernist Chapel to enjoy the final showcase. Overall, the youngsters overcame their nerves to deliver commendable routines worked up in little over two-and-a-half hours.
‘Today was all about being part of the St Jo’s experience, developing aspiration, confidence and respect. There’s nothing greater than being able to work with professional actors, dancers and musicians, as we do through our exciting partnership with Arts International. For our own Year 5 children the addition of 80 new friends to learn with, laugh with, eat with and perform with really magnified the experience,’ Mrs Harvey added.