School play will help charity with donation

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PUPILS at Portsmouth Grammar School gave a theatrical slant to charitable-giving with a recent production.

As part of a new play, Whalesong, playwright Jo Harper created an easy way for the Year 7 pupils to help others in need by donating clothes to Oxfam.

The 11 to 12-year-olds, in their first year of the senior school, donated favourite clothes they’d outgrown, as well as clothing from their families.

The huge beached whale in the play was then built from bags of clothes donated by pupils.

Drama teacher James Robinson said: ‘The development process started with us running workshops with the pupils, led by Jo’s ideas.

‘Once we began rehearsals we would recommend re-writes and Jo would work on these, having had the chance to watch the cast at work. It’s been a very collaborative process which the pupils have really enjoyed.’

More than 60 children took part in the production, playing out the squabble about who owned the whale, while tensions surrounding class, gender roles, and nationality surfaced for their characters.

Daniel Kirwan, a pupil in Year 8, said: ‘We’ve been able to suggest changes as we go along which has been really good.

‘It has also made it a bit of a challenge though as the script keeps changing.’

Once the production has finished the bags of clothes that were used to build the whale will be given to Oxfam.

James added: ‘It will be a fitting end to our whale that despite the uproar it causes in the play, ultimately it will do good.’