26th November 2012, 4:45pm
Once upon a time students take classic fairy tales on Christmas primary school tour
A fairy tale book Drama students from the University of Lincoln will take some Christmas cheer on the road when they tour county primary schools with adaptations of classic fairy tales.

Students from Lincoln's School of Performing Arts have created colourful new interpretations of four fairy tales by Hans Christian Anderson and the Brothers Grimm. They will be performing their adaptations, under the heading 'Once Upon a Tale', to audiences of up to 150 children a day in primary schools around Lincolnshire from 3rd to 7th December.

Schools featured in the tour include Nettleham Infants School, Manor Leas Infant School and Brant Broughton School.

A smaller group of four students will perform The Little Red Hen to children at St Francis Community Special School, a day school based in Lincoln with residential facilities for young people with physical or mental disabilities. This performance will include elements of sensology a style of movement which helps to develop the non verbal and intuitive parts of the mind.

These productions have arisen from the 'Theatre for Children' module which forms part of the undergraduate curriculum for drama students in the School of Performing Arts. The module looks at the role of theatre in children's lives today and explores how to make theatre relevant and accessible in a world dominated by reality television and video games. Using physical theatre and humour, the students introduce characters from well-known fairy tale stories via interaction with the audience, as well as song and dance.

Conan Lawrence, lecturer in drama in Lincoln's School of Performing Arts, who has organised the fairy tale tour said: "We're giving students the opportunity to gain professional experience of touring, the chance to test out academic enquiries in social contexts, and the gift of an enchanting, magical encounter with timeless stories to local children in the run-up to Christmas.
"The students' adaptations of The Ugly Duckling, Hansel and Gretel, The Tinderbox, The Little Red Hen and The Nightingale are bristling with energy: big, bold performances that are full of audience interaction, bright costumes and inventive scenery."

The University of Lincoln prides itself on thinking of Students as Producers, offering them opportunities to create work that speaks to the wider community, extending their reach as creators and boosting their employability. The School of Performing Arts sees exercises like 'Once upon a Tale' as embodying its mission to provide performance that makes a difference to the broader community.

Drama student Gina Mason, a cast member in The Ugly Duckling said: "Performing at primary schools is an important part of the module to me. I think as we're travelling to the schools we will gain good experience of touring and performing and it also means the children will be more comfortable in their familiar surroundings.
"I think this will be a good opportunity for us as a group because it gives us the chance to perform in different venues to a different audience and not just on stage in a theatre."

Fellow undergraduate Katherine Clarke, a cast member in Hansel and Gretel said: "We have loved creating our own version of the fairy tale, adding lots of opportunities for audience participation. The author David Wood suggests Theatre for Children is, 'Twice as difficult, twice as rewarding' and I feel this idea really sums it up as a whole.
"Performing in a primary school will be a great experience as it allows us to bring something different and exciting to children in their everyday environment. It's a nice opportunity for those children who do not have the chance to go to the theatre to be able to have that experience."
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