Panto adventure is a winner with schools (oh yes it is!)

schools panto_tourThe school term ended last week with a whirl of colourful costumes, swashbuckling pirates and a talking scarecrow. Children at local primary schools were transported to the enchanting Land of Oz and a mysterious desert island thanks to talented performing arts students from East Berkshire College.

A cast of 14 students, who are all studying at the College's Langley Campus, performed two 45 minute pantomimes 'The Wizard of Oz' and 'Treasure Island' as part of a festive tour for schools. Both productions had all the elements you would expect from a classic panto, such as adventure, music, dancing, excitement and lots of audience participation.

Student Ashley Pearse (17), who played Dorothy in the show, explains: "This is the first time we've performed for children, so we weren't sure what to expect. The stories and characters are well-known, but we have put our own modern twist on it. For example, we have included some modern songs that the children can sing along to and easy actions so they can join in with the routines."

Syne Thorton-Fry (17), who took on the role of Squeaky Monkey, added: "Seeing the children's reactions has to be the most rewarding part for me, but one of the biggest challenges was adapting the show to the different size spaces available in each school."

Entertaining groups of between 40 and 250 children at a time, the tour visited a number of schools in the area including Langley Manor and Langley Hall Primary Academy.

Jane Sculpher, Head of School at Langley Hall Primary Academy, said: "It's a wonderful opportunity to have the College's theatre group come into the school. The children thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a real treat."

The 'Adventures in Panto-land' school tour was created as part of a module of the College's Performing Arts BTEC National Diploma course. The students, who are all in their second year, have spent the term developing their skills in this area of performance.

For further information on East Berkshire College and its performing arts courses, call 0845 373 2500.

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