On Friday 1st February, pupils from Greenfield School in Woking descended upon The Electric Theatre in Guildford, where they put on a very special one-off performance to a packed-out crowd of parents and special guests.
The children, aged 4 to 11 years, had spent many weeks working on a production to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War I, entitled Greenfield Remembers. The hour-long performance was penned by Head of Music and Drama, Ms Beth Reeve, who incorporated poetry, pupil’s work, ballet, drama and music to create a unique and personalised tribute to those who fought in World War I. She said “The school wanted to do something poignant to commemorate 100 years since the end of the war and this seemed to be the ideal medium to help children understand the enormity of what our ancestors experienced as they fought for our freedom.”
All the children, from Reception through to Year 6, played a part in portraying the many elements of war and the ways in which it impacted the soldiers and their families. Effective mime scenes were used to accompany the sombre narration of facts about the many battles faced between 1914 and 1918. Interspersed throughout the performance were stories of Greenfield pupils’ ancestors who fought in the war. From a sailor in the merchant navy to a soldier in Atatürk’s army, there were emotional tributes to all those relatives who fought in the war. Tania Botting, Headmistress of Greenfield School said, “including stories of our pupils’ own relatives made for a very moving performance. I am sure it will have had a big impact on all the children. It really was very emotional.”
As part of their Drama and English work on the subject of WWI, some of the children had written pieces of poetry about life in the trenches. Four of these poems were skilfully performed by groups of Year 5 children, who recited them from memory whilst others performed actions to bring the stories to life.
It has been a fantastic year at the school for the Performing Arts Department, with 4 music scholarships, 2 drama scholarships, awards in Drama and trumpet and an offer to join the prestigious Sylvia Young Theatre School accrued by Year 6 pupils so far. Some of the younger children clearly have their sights set on similar ambitions, as Year 4 pupils Sanika Das and Abbie Styles, along with Year 2 pupil Anna Reeve, performed a beautiful ballet named “Pride of the Poppies” as part of the commemoration. The elegant dance allowed the audience a moment of reflection in amongst the emotional performances.
After an exceptional rendition of the last post by Year 6 pupil, Louisa Rigby, the whole school gathered on stage for a final scene marking the end of the war.
The School was honoured to be joined by The Worshipful the Mayor of Guildford, Councillor Mike Parsons, and The Mayoress, Mrs Jean Parsons. The Mayor commented that he felt the tone of the performance was “just right” and that he and The Mayoress thoroughly enjoyed the performance.