Dancers rehearse for Bowness on Solway's production of Dazzle - May 2013
Bowness on Solway Primary School to stage hit school musical Dazzle!
CASE STUDY: STAGING A SCHOOL MUSICAL
Bowness on Solway Primary School has chosen Limelight Musicals’ Dazzle! as its end-of-year production for 2013.
Why did it choose Dazzle? And how is the school approaching the production?
Over the coming weeks, we will follow the children's progress through rehearsals leading to curtain-up and final bows.
In a series of “director’s dispatches”, Chris Rafferty, the school’s headmaster and producer of Dazzle, will record his reflections and insights as the production takes shape.
To set the scene, we begin with some background on the school and its approach to school productions.
School musicals at Bowness on Solway Primary
Bowness on Solway is a small Primary School 15 miles west of Carlisle. It has 66 children in just three classes.
It puts particular emphasis on the value of the performing and creative arts, and has a growing reputation for the excellence of its school productions. It recently received an Artsmark Gold Award.
Children in its three classes have an opportunity to take to the stage each year. It stages a Nativity for the youngest children, a winter show for the middle class, and a summer Leavers’ production for the oldest children.
The school has a tradition of inviting other local schools to come and see its end-of-year show. This means it will normally put on five or six performances of the summer show.
Limelight’s show Dazzle will be performed six times in July 2013, with the proceeds from the final show being donated to local charities.
Why did the school choose Dazzle?
Chris Rafferty, the school’s headteacher and show producer, says:
“We put on a version of Hamlet last year, in part because the boy-girl ratio was very much in favour of the boys. This year, the mix in Years 5 and 6 is a lot more balanced.
“I wanted to put on something different, ideally with some good parts for the girls to get their teeth into, and began to search around the usual publishers online. Nothing stood out and I widened my search.
“Landing on the Limelight Musicals site, it quickly became clear that there was something new here worth looking at. Special mention must go to Limelight’s Andrew Bailey, who was extremely helpful in answering my questions and providing additional resources.
“The most important factor for me in selecting a show is the quality of the score.
"This is for two reasons: the sing-ability and appeal of the melodies first and foremost; but also because we like to use a lot of choreography in our productions, and it’s important to have a variety of musical styles to work with.
“Dazzle is full of fantastic, sing-able melodies, and in a wide range of musical styles. This will allows us to be very creative with our dance and movement.
“I normally play keyboard to accompany our productions. However, the performance backing tracks for Dazzle are superb, and I have decided that we will be using them for our show.
“The story of Dazzle – about a young girl who inherits a run-down seaside fun fair – is also really appealing, with a full range of emotions running through.
"It has great characters, humour that can be achieved by a young cast (not always easy) and, as importantly, a range of speaking roles so that lots of children can take part.
“I think for school productions, every child, even if they are the nervous sort, still likes to have a line to deliver."
Director’s Dispatch 2: Casting for Dazzle!
Director’s Dispatch 3: Designing the set
Director’s Dispatch 4: Four weeks to go
Director’s Dispatch 5: Counting down...
Director’s Dispatch 6: Surprise addition
Director’s Dispatch 7: Costumes
Director’s Dispatch 8: Dress rehearsal
Director’s Dispatch 9: Last night