Last week the ISH primary school students surprised parents and teachers delivering two astonishing high-level performances of Hairspray Jr. Since January, children from year 4, 5 and 6 worked extremely hard to prepare this production. Our diligent cast met on a weekly basis in a drama afterschool club and the results were surely visible on stage: they showed confidence, talent and a great sense of humour. On the second night, the young actors were so at ease and creative on stage that they started improvising and giving a new twist to their acting. Is there anything more impressive than children taking ownership of their own learning?
The Choir worked from January onwards on a great number of swinging songs in 1960's style. What a challenge this was! During their weekly rehearsals (lasting only 25 minutes) our hardworking choir members managed to learn fourteen songs and lyrics by heart. It was clear from the start that they were ready to rise up to the occasion: the songs are actually suitable for secondary schools but our primary children showed that teamwork and resilience really pay off. The audience also got to see how a few children did not walk away from the opportunity to sing a solo; some of those songs managed to bring tears to our eyes every single time!
The importance of performing arts in a curriculum cannot be underestimated. The set of skills required for performing arts are lessons for life: confidence, creativity, concentration, reflection, teamwork, commitment etc. But this musical gave us an opportunity to discuss certain historical events and social issues from the past. From the perspective of an international community, we feel it is ever so important to raise the children's awareness of historical changes allowing for discussions with the children fostering an open-minded environment that will allow them to become reflective individuals.
Their huge success seems to have been recognised by our community: the donations made by the audience add up to the impressive amount of 718 euros! This money will be donated to Musicians Without Borders, the world's pioneer organisation that uses music for peacebuilding and social change. Their main motto reflects the importance of music as a vehicle for social change: War Divides, Music Connects. We chose this charity for our musical production Hairspray Jr. exactly because it matches the main topic of the show: how music and dancing played a crucial role in the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
Last but not least, we would like to thank all involved in the process: teachers, parents, supporting staff. Most of all, thank you cast and choir for your commitment and never-ending energy. Thank you all.