Because children tend to understand acting and storytelling intuitively, it is easy to assume that they actually understand what pantomime is and why it is there. But, in fact, what generally happens is that they just accept it.
Now that is ok as far as it goes, but there is a benefit from working with children not only for the sake of performing in a panto, but also to understand the context of what they are doing.
Which is why sometimes it is rather good to put on a panto in which the panto becomes not just a performance, but also a learning experience in relation to a significant element in our cultural history.
If we are going down this route, one of the most obvious places to start is with Dick Whittington which as a story has the benefit of being based on a real person, although not necessarily a real cat.
Thus we have a historical plot and the possibility of examining everything that is inherent within the panto. The tradition, the staging, the scenery, the props, the lighting, the use of the provided music against new songs, or new lyrics, dance, movement, acting… all can then become topics for study.
Of course, each topic is an option – it is possible to present Dick Whittington as a pantomime with the normal rehearsals and production to the parents and no further explanation. Or you can take one or more of the issues inherent within the panto and look more deeply at that.
This then is the way that we have approached the publication of Dick Ottington and his famous cat Tommy, by David Stoll and Michael Hinton.
The package includes:
- a Director’s Script, with detailed page-by-page production notes
- a Pupils’ Script
- a Vocal Score containing thirteen new songs with piano accompaniment, as well as an overture and incidental music
- a complete set of high-quality fully orchestrated backing tracks and sound effects.
The Director’s Script also has an extensive introduction to pantomime itself as a topic for study, including the traditions and conventions of this type of theatre.
There are also helpful notes on all aspects of putting on a school production from casting, organising rehearsals, writing new lyrics, making props and sound effects through to involving the audience. The material, therefore, can be used for a term’s study as well as forming the basis of the end of term production.
David Stoll is a well-known composer and songwriter who has also worked extensively with primary school teachers and pupils on creative projects. His SEALSONGS are favourite assembly material, and his book on how to teach composing at KS2 is acknowledged for its helpful notes and suggestions. To go to his website please click here.
Michael Hinton is a teacher, writer and musician with many years’ experience of writing educational materials for schools abroad and in the UK. He works as Music Director with amateur dramatic societies and children’s theatre groups, helping them to stage musicals and pantomimes, and is the composer of hundreds of educational songs.
There are sample pages at http://www.pdf.firstandbest.co.uk/authordownloadsamples/Dick Ottington samples.rar
Dick Ottington and his famous cat Tommy is published as a download so that you can receive immediately a copy onto your computer which you can share with colleagues as often as you want. You can also put it on your school learning platform so all staff can access it.
You can obtain Dick Ottington and his famous cat Tommy by going to http://shop.firstandbest.co.uk/product_info.php?products_id=804
The price for the full package is £24.95 plus VAT (the VAT can be reclaimed in most cases by the school).
Dick Ottington and his famous cat Tommy is published by Novello & Co Ltd and distributed by First and Best, part of the Hamilton House group. If you have any enquiries you can call 01536 399 011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to us at First and Best, Hamilton House, Earlstrees Ct, Earlstrees Rd, Corby, Northants NN17 4HH.
The full range of First and Best books can be seen at www.shop.firstandbest.co.uk