Children put on a time-travelling show at Portsmouth Guildhall

PRIMARY SCHOOL children have seen their confidence and self-esteem improve after putting together a musical production at Portsmouth Guildhall.

By neil.fatkin1
Friday, 5th April 2019, 11:56 am

Pupils from Cottage Grove Primary School worked with drama and performing arts students from the University of Portsmouth to put together the show.

Including acting, singing, dancing and puppetry, the children performed in-front of a captivated audience at Portsmouth Guildhall.

Year 5 pupil, Primrose Pasmore, 10, said: ‘I really enjoyed the whole experience. This morning I was nervous and wasn’t sure I could get up on stage but now I am really proud I have done it.’

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As part of the show the children developed their own puppet characters. Picture: Sarah Standing (020419-4981)

Mum, Claire Thomas, added: ‘I really enjoyed the show and it has been brilliant for developing Primrose’s confidence and self-belief.’

The show saw the audience transported back in time to 1910 and included a rousing rendition of the Mary Poppins classic, Chim Chim Cher-ee.

Students worked on the production for eight weeks under the guidance of seven university students. As part of the production the students developed their own production company – Confetti Act.

Drama and performance student, Isabel Nielson, 21, said: ‘It was definitely a challenge to get the children to where they are for tonight’s performance. We used a number of games to build confidence and gradually progress to the final show.’

Children perform the May Poppins classic, Chim Chim Cher-ee. Picture: Sarah Standing (020419-4988)

Musical theatre student, Charlotte Moulster, 22, added: ‘I have been really impressed with how the children have developed their teamwork and shown support for each other. Many of them didn’t really know each other and we have seen them develop socially as well as the skills we taught them.’

A number of those involved in Confetti Act have been inspired to go into teaching or working with young people in the future.

Niamh Marvey, 21, said: ‘I really enjoyed working with the children - it was a fantastic experience. It has really inspired me to continue working with children and to go into teaching drama and the performing arts.’

All of the children who took part were given a certificate and prize in recognition of an area in which they had excelled. Categories included best team player, most creative student, star puppeteer and most positive attitude.

A culmination of an 8 week creative project coordinated by Active Communities Network working with seven University of Portsmouth Creative and Cultural Industries 3rd year students and Cottage Grove Primary school, put together a show at Portsmouth Guildhall. Picture: Sarah Standing (020419-5023)

Year 6 pupil, Lilly Payne, 11, won an award for her singing.

Lilly said: ‘I enjoyed singing but really loved working with the puppets and doing improvisation. I have made a lot of new friends.’

The performance was enjoyed by the staff of Cottage Grove Primary School.

Deputy headteacher, Verity Tilley, said: ‘Pupils who would be too shy to put their hands up in class have tonight been singing and dancing on stage.’

The project was a collaborative initiative between local youth support group, Active Communities Network (ACN) and The Studio at Portsmouth Guildhall.

Head of Programmes at ACN, Julian Wadsworth MBE, said: ‘We wanted to target more of our support with the city’s primary schools. We have done a lot in the past with sport but the arts also play a really important role in children’s development.’