October 23, 2014

Come to the Chocolate Factory! It’s Amazing What You’ll Learn

Friends' 5th graders getting ready for their production
of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
If you can, please stop by the Great Room this coming Tuesday at either 2:00 or 5:00 p.m.  You’re bound to find a small boy who wins the tour of a lifetime, tiny Oompa Loompas singing and dancing across the stage, and a crazy candy maker with limitless imagination. Come to the theatre!

The theatre, in one form or another, is ever-present at Friends’ School.

Dramatic play is an essential element in our preschool curriculum.  By pretending to be firefighters, princesses, superheroes, or restaurateurs, three and four year olds are developing many cognitive, social, emotional, and physical skills: everything from spoken language, planning, conflict resolution, expressing emotion, seeing the world from different vantage points.
As our students progress through our elementary school, they have countless opportunities to act out skits, play make-believe, present their work in theatrical form, and participate in class plays. 

This fall, we continue the theatre experience for our fifth graders at a whole new level. 

Costume shop - right outside the 5th grade classroom
I am currently directing our extremely talented fifth grade class in a production of Roald Dahl’s lovable story Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  With a full raised stage, and a homemade Chocolate Factory that is second to none, it promises to be an outstanding show. It’s suitable for all ages.

With several rehearsals a week over many weeks, it’s a fabulous time for me to connect with our graduating class.  I am enjoying their creativity and sense of humour.  We are laughing a lot, and learning that sometimes the best moments in theatre come from gaffes.

Over the many years that I’ve been directing children’s theatre, covering more than forty full-scale productions, I have learned many things.  I have learned that involving kids in theatre improves their communication skills, gives them an opportunity to express themselves, helps develop the ability to think critically, prompts them to cooperate with others in achieving a huge joint goal, and fosters peer acceptance and self-worth.

The theatre provides a wonderful opportunity to teach the importance of hard work, perseverance through difficulty, a sense of accomplishment, and of course provides plenty of opportunities to laugh.

Through theatre, all children are equal and free to explore. There are no wrong answers to fear and no competition to fall short of - only the chance to try on being someone else and, by doing so, to discover a little more of themselves.

The great Oscar Wilde once said, “I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being.”

And that’s what we’re doing here at Friends’ – the important job of raising human beings. It’s a privilege and a joy to be working on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with our fifth grade class.  But miss it, and it’s gone.

We hope to see you at the show. 

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