I’ve just spent one of the strangest hours I’ve spent for a while: watching a primary school pantomime in which, aged almost 10 years old, I played Prince Charming. Viewing the footage, the years melted away, I found I still remembered my lines- though I suspect my polka prowess peaked then (evidence approx. 30 mins in) (not even sure I could pull off the chicken dance now, which also features in the show a few mins later…). It was really fun – recognising so many faces, some of whom I still know well, and bringing back many, many memories.
I showed my husband the finale section and he commented on what a huge show it seemed to have been – especially for the time – Christmas 1985 by my reckoning(!).
“Not really,” I said. “We did similar sized shows every Christmas – “King Arthur and the Knights of the Square Table” was one and “Snow White and the 7 plus 7 plus 7 Dwarves”, in which I played a bedraggled tulip (don’t ask!). We also did lots of concerts and smaller shows and Speech and Drama events (Morecambe Festival – more memories) and so on throughout the year. They were a huge part of my primary school life.”
Music and drama abounded. They really did. I’m sure I took it for granted because, although I loved performance from the word go, I didn’t recognise, as I do now, how lucky I was to have experienced such richness at such a young age – or how lucky to have had such talented and committed teachers.
Watching the video today and seeing the smiling faces of my friends and I, realising anew just how much we learned through these experiences, has got me thinking again about the current Education Secretary’s recent comments about Arts subjects. Yet again, I am saddened and angered. I can’t do much better, though, than to re-post the open letter in response to her speech that I recently posted on Facebook.
Have a read if you’re interested: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2i8tbneylzqqos2/1411%20-%20Letter%20to%20Nicky%20Morgan%2C%20Education%20Secretary.pdf?dl=0
And do take a look at the blast from the past above – courtesy of Cinderella herself. Who says the Arts don’t add value?