Adventures in a magical world ; SI L'ENFANT NE DORT PAS BIENWith her latest production, Keyworth theatre producer Sarah Buckley, 22, is hoping to turn children on to classical arts. Elsie Powers reports
reports Your play, Si l'enfant ne dort pas bien, which you are presenting at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe next month, is designed for children but it sounds heavy going. What is the story? It translates as If the child does not sleep well and follows the journey of two children: Charlotte and Sammy. Charlotte is told a bedtime story by her mother about a girl who visits a magical dreamland called Sommeil. Charlotte dreams that she is that little girl and experiences an evil witch, who turns her into a cat and Sammy into a mouse. As animals, Charlotte and Sammy meet other children who are trapped in Sommeil and decide to go on an adventure to try to defeat La Sorciere. It's a traditional fairytale inspired by the characters found in classical French songs.
It mixes the French language with classical arts - why do you think that will appeal to children? The familiarity of the fairytale storyline allows the children to take in the basic French vocabulary and classical arts through engaging with the story and experiencing the other art forms as complimentary additions that entertain them further. The songs are in French and their meaning is depicted through the action on stage and their contextualisation within the story.
Why do you think it is important to introduce children to styles such as opera? My primary and secondary education, at Willow Brook Primary School and South Wolds Community School in Keyworth, introduced me to an array of musical styles. I feel that classical music can sometimes be considered as an elite art form and this is not the case. Children from all backgrounds should have the choice of whether to engage with it - after all, opera is, more often that not, just a story sung to beautiful music.
Why did you set up your own company, Dreamland Theatre? As performance students at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), we were always encouraged to explore ways of creating our own work. Last year the RCS introduced a Bridge Week scheme where students could submit proposals for projects. As classical singers, myself and a friend decided to propose a project that would allow us to collaborate with students from other departments (such as ballet, technical production, arts and drama). Members of staff suggested that we take it to a larger audience.
Are you excited to be a part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe? It's an internationally renowned festival with endless opportunities to meet new people. The city is so vibrant during the festival and it is an extremely exciting prospect.
This year, I will not only be producing Si l'enfant ne dort pas bien but singing and acting in the role of Charlotte's mother.
How did your childhood in Nottingham lead to your career in music and theatre? I was very lucky to have two schools that encouraged involvement in the arts; I was able to take part in musicals, saxophone groups and steel bands. I had a great passion for musicals and often went to see them at the Nottingham Arts Theatre, the Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall. My singing teacher, Stephen Williams, who composed the musical Saturday Night and Sunday Morning, introduced me to the idea of going to a specialist music institution rather than a university.
After studying with him for a year, I gained a place to study classical singing at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
What are your plans for Dreamland Theatre? We hope to expand by writing new works that follow the same structure but use other languages, all with the Dreamland theme. The ultimate goal is to create a series of performances that cover the main languages studied at schools.
Dreamland Theatre presents Si l'enfant ne dort pas bien at Zoo, Venue 124, 140 Pleasance, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, from August 12-17. For more information go to dreamlandtheatre.wix.com.
'' It's a traditional fairytale inspired by the characters found in classical French songs Sarah Buckley
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