BackQuest of the Four Princesses

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The Head Teacher of the school said:

For those who took part we noticed an increase in self-esteem and self-confidence and a developed love of language and performing arts whilst for the whole school there was the dividend of increased awareness of the performing arts and the joy that performing can bring.

From the press release…

A group of ten year olds, from Hugh Myddleton Primary School in Islington, performed the premiere of Quest of the Four Princesses at London's prestigious Unicorn Theatre for Young People on Saturday 14 January 2012.  The play, one of the highlights of a Gala Weekend organised by Trinity College London, was one of the two winning plays in their International Playwriting Competition and was written for performers aged 11 and under.

The play is a fairy tale like no other with mobile phones, burger boys and four very feisty princesses looking for a prince.  “Children don't just want to play children.  They want to dress up and use their imagination”, said winning playwright Colin Hume, whose play has been published in a book of winning plays by Trinity College London.

The school children from Amazon class relished their acting experience said teacher Sarah Gill: “The play worked well with the year group as they understood the story.  There were also new and challenging words and themes in it which helped develop their literacy skills and stopped it feeling like a 'young' fairytale to the children.”

“It also had enough parts for the whole class to have a good amount of involvement and avoided them getting bored — it was never long before it was their turn to be on stage again.  All the parts in the play seemed relevant and there was not an obvious lead role for one person.”

“There were also some roles that did not have a lot of lines but were important to the play, so even the children that did not want a lot to say could still have a great role.”

Director Alison Goldie said: “As a freelance director, I am used to some unusual assignment but a fairy tale with a 17 strong cast of 9-10 year olds presented a new challenge.  In our intense rehearsal periods the cast behaved like true professionals.  They were patient, enthusiastic, helpful and committed.  Fittingly they achieved an 'Amazon' task.”

“We run this competition because there is frustratingly little new material for the stage written for young people.  The premiere of Quest of the Four Princesses was part of a Gala Weekend of workshops aimed at encouraging this type of writing”, said John Gardyne, Head of Drama and Performance at Trinity College London and Chair of the Judging Panel.

“More than 200 playwrights from 20 countries took up the challenge of digging into their imaginations in order to create a work of art where none existed before.  We congratulate the winners, but we thank all of those who entered the competition — as well as the young performers who put on the premiere.”