Scottish Opera (SO) and Disney Musicals in Schools (DMiS) are collaborating to give five Scottish primary schools the opportunity to learn and produce their own Disney KIDS musical and then have the opportunity to perform two special shows at the Theatre Royal Glasgow and in their own schools.
DMiS launched in London in 2016, after having started life ten years ago as an outreach initiative in New York Elementary Schools designed to develop theatre programmes. Their KIDS musicals are shorter stage adaptions of Disney versions of classics, suchas The Lion King KIDS and Aladdin KID, that have been written expressly for primary school performers and that the five chosen Scottish schools will learn.
The programme aims to build skills and confidence in both pupils and teachers, encourage participation and collaboration, and leave a sustainable arts legacy for years to come, especially in schools that are actively seeking greater engagement with the arts.
Following a selection process by SO, the schools chosen to take part in the free programme are Cleeves Primary School in Glasgow, St James Primary School in Renfrewshire, Edinbarnet Primary School in West Dunbartonshire, Hurlford Primary School in East Ayrshire and Wemyss Bay Primary School in Inverclyde.
The pupils from the five selected schools will start working with two music and drama artists from SO’s Outreach and Education Department, with step-by-step workshops covering every aspect of casting, rehearsing, staging and performing a 30-minute long version of one of the chosen musicals.
Over a 17-week period, SO teaching artists will guide pupils through music and movement, and work with staff to give them experience in singing, stage directing, choreography and stage management. The schools are also provided with a Disney Show Kit including scripts, director’s guide, music score, choreography DVD, and rehearsal and accompaniment CDs.
The joint programme first took place in Scotland in 2019 and involved primary schools in Irvine, Paisley, Stirling, Galashiels and Johnstone, however was cut short due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The schools involved have since been able to continue the project over the last few months and finishes up in November, later presenting their shows in Spring 2022.
Head of Outreach and Education at Scottish Opera Jane Davidson said “We are delighted to continue as Disney Musicals in Schools’ very first Scottish partner in the consolidated (due to the pandemic) delivery of years 2 & 3 of a three year in-depth, skill building programme for schools. This unique project is designed not only to introduce teachers to the key elements involved in preparing their pupils to stage one of Disney’s classical musicals but also, through interaction with parents and families, to help establish the role of the arts as a valuable tool in consolidating the school at the heart of the community it serves. Both organisations are firm advocates of the power of the arts to support integrated learning; to enhance attainment levels and to build a child’s capacity to achieve their potential and we hope that access to the extensive learning and teaching resources we have to offer, helping them to support their pupils even more effectively in the future.”