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How to run a school musical?

Discussion in 'Drama and performing arts' started by llk, Nov 16, 2018.

  1. llk

    llk New commenter

    I am currently directing a Year 8 Musical - Honk! Children auditioned for parts and all are expected to take part - some have main roles, some are in the ensemble, some backstage, some on lights.
    I have had parental complaints that some children do not have lines i- and are only in the ensemble! It is driving me crazy. Does this happen to other teachers and how do you please everyone?
  2. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    Yes, casting for a production can be very tricky! My experience is with Y6 productions, in which every child in the class would have at least a few lines to say - the main parts would have many, of course. Everyone will sing all the songs and there may be some solos or duets.
    At Y8 level:
    1. I think you have to ascertain what each pupil would be happy with or wants to do. Some may be perfectly happy to do lighting or be backstage etc.
    2. If they want to be on the stage acting, but are clearly not in the running for a main part, then yes, they can be in an ensemble or group, but I would advise creating some characters and lines for these groups. Giving each character a name and lines to say and things to do makes a big difference - instead of being a mute ‘villager’ they become Patsy the milkmaid or whatever. The ensembles can also speak together or speak as a motley crowd, depending upon the dramatic action.
    3. Getting the groups to act and do things - not just standing there - is very important to their feeling of involvement. Getting them to enter or exit through the audience etc. can create variety and interest.
    4. We do a big talk about team work and supporting each other before we hand out parts, trying to encourage everyone to pull together. We try really hard to make sure no-one will feel hugely disappointed and that the parts match the pupils’ abilities.
    Good luck!
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    My experience, with after school club productions, was that one or two parents would complain that their child didn't have a good enough part and then, as rehearsal progressed the children would stop coming anyway. Nightmare!
  4. llk

    llk New commenter

    Thanks for the above replies - I like the idea of naming the characters in the ensemble. Can do that next time. I think most of what you talked about I do do which is reassuring. I guess it is impossible to keep everyone happy. As I said I am currently doing Honk! With Year 8. Anyone got ideas for a Year 6 production which is not a musical? I want to do a play or a group of plays. Have done Roald Dahl/Ghosthunters/Demon Headmaster/Arabian Nights before - anyone suggest any as I have to decide in the next few weeks....
  5. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    I’m afraid all ours have been musicals, so I can’t help there. Sometimes we’ve done Shakespeare e.g. A Midsummer Night’s Dream - there may be a suitable, shortened version which is not a musical...
  6. nevmutley

    nevmutley New commenter

    You can never please all the people all of the time! Normally, I send out a letter with the script detailing the production saying, 'Everyone will have lines/lyrics to learn, some will have more than others. There are xxx amount of lines and lyrics in the show and we would like your help with this'.

    Is there a way of coming 'off timetable' for the production? That has always helped me enormously, also those with smaller roles can be your SM crew, that way they don't feel short changed.

    I have written shows myself and are plays with music, these include: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, The Legend of Robin Hood, The 3 Musketeers. Other plays without music include, Pinocchio, The Wizard of Oz, The Greeks. I would need to charge you for these though.

    Free copies of 'The Dream' one hour edit are on the RSC website. Also check out the BBC website, as it has some 'free scripts' on there.

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