The Big Picture: Stage Scenery Creation
Pupils at St Bede's creating Widecombe Fair backdrop 2009
Widecombe Fair backdrop, showing the smugglers landing their booty!
Maureen, a Slade-trained artist, neglected to mention the the ‘touching-up’ which she does, after the children have covered the canvas with paint. This transforms the backcloths into works of art and they are an important Classical Road Show resource. The cloths in turn transform formal, major concert halls into exciting new worlds, inhabited by hundreds of performers of all ages. We are most grateful to Maureen for this legacy.
'Such a wonderful performing arts learning experience' Headteacher Catherine Lowry
Children between the ages of 6 and 11 are familiar with drawing and painting on a small scale and expressing their ideas individually. When they become involved in creating a stage cloth for one of our productions such as Widecombe Fair, they suddenly realise that Art and Music have dimensions and power of a much greater kind.
They meet new teachers’ who encourage them to work together using litres of industrial paint and three inch brushes. They learn scale and perspective from translating the small picture design, marked out in squares, onto a huge canvas now set out on the floor of their school hall. They use vivid colours and paint people who are much bigger than they are.
They also learn the social and practical skills of working in teams rather than as individuals. It is a truly eye-opening exercise for them and for those of us who help them. Suddenly even those who think they are no good at art find that they can paint rough work that looks vibrant and expressive to the audience.
They explore these new possibilities as individuals but then get the enormous thrill of seeing the completed work on a large stage setting in which the musical and poetic power of the presentation brings their work alive.
They share our excitement in discovery and learning and begin to understand the importance of being a key part of a project that is much bigger than any individual; and we all have a lot of fun.
Workshop Leader & Trustee of The Classical Road Show
Battle of Trafalgar backoth painted by Westfield Primary
Dreamtime Tales backcloth painted by Boxgrove Primary