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Island schools enjoy unique theatre experience with The Scottish Salmon Company and the National Theatre of Scotland

Following a competition run by The Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) as part of its sponsorship of/ in partnership with the National Theatre of Scotland and Imaginate’s ‘Theatre in Schools Scotland’ initiative, pupils from Gigha Primary School on the Isle of Gigha and Sgoil na Pairc on the Isle of Lewis received funding packages to help plan and produce their end of term shows.

In early December, the staff and children of the schools received a fantastic one-day workshop with coaching from National Theatre of Scotland practitioners Beth Morton and Sarah Rose Graber on how to develop a script, the characters, acting, choreography, and scenes for their show. The funding from SSC also helped pay for props and costumes.

‘Gigha’s Gone Global for Christmas’ was written, directed and produced by P7 pupils Emily and Ruby and saw the primary and pre-five children visit countries and cultures from around the world showcasing the talent of the young performers.

Ruby and Emily said: “We had so much fun writing the play because we got to use our own ideas. Beth helped us to make the storyline, and taught us how to change between different characters during the performance. We also learned about stage management and working under a low budget. We think it was superb and everyone who came to see it thought it was a success!”

Julie Wilson, Headteacher at Gigha Primary School, added: “Beth built an instant rapport with the children and they were captivated by her experience and knowledge in directing productions. Beth took the children through different exercises and constantly provided practical advice which they could use when developing our end of term show.

“This was a fabulous experience of empowerment for all of the pupils; they found their 'voice' with such confidence to express their ideas. I extend our thanks to The Scottish Salmon Company as it was really special to see the pupils bring the show from an idea to the stage.”

Sgoil na Pairc’s ‘A Fairytale Adventure’ was brought to life with songs and dancing, and a twist on some classic stories that kept the audience guessing until the end.

Saorsa, P7, said of the workshop: "I learnt to release my inner ‘dramatic-ness’ and really delve into my character." Cormac, P5, took away some valuable advice: "You have to be in character even when going on stage”; as did Ellie, P6: "Have fun and don't stand about, be active!"

Maria Finnegan, teacher at Sgoil na Pairc, said: “The workshop with the National Theatre of Scotland was brilliant; the children responded really well to Sara Rose, who taught them about scene and character development, some choreography, how characters relate to each other on stage and also some simple actions that help convey emotions.

“We have all really enjoyed the whole experience. It’s been great to see the children develop their understanding of theatre performances and be able to use what they have learned to put on a truly wonderful end of term show! Thank you to The Scottish Salmon Company for helping us to stage a brilliant evening for the parents and families.”

Craig Anderson, Chief Executive of The Scottish Salmon Company, said: “We are pleased that the staff and pupils of Gigha Primary School and Sgoil na Pairc found the workshops with the National Theatre of Scotland to be a rewarding and valuable experience. The children put in a lot of hard work and creativity to stage some excellent performances.

“Theatre in Schools Scotland is an important project to us in supporting more remote schools like those on the isles of Gigha and Lewis to gain the full benefits of the arts. I am proud that we were able to support the staff and pupils in their community events.”

For further information about Theatre in Schools Scotland please visit: www.theatreinschoolsscotland.com