Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Cluster Primary Project – February 2020

It all began on a visit to Hart Primary school where an innocent question of ‘What can we do for the performing arts with HTCS?’ began a project that would end with 120 pupils performing in three shows in one day.

As ever, a single question can create a full idea and this time the idea was to separate the songs from Joseph and allocate each Cluster Primary school a song, teach and set the pupils some movement, have High Tunstall provide narrators and a Joseph and put it all together in one day.

In January, the primary schools were given their songs ready for the performances on the 13th February.  Each school was offered the services of HTCS Creativity staff to help teach the song or set movement and a whirlwind of 6 weeks of visiting schools began.

The primary staff in charge of the project were invited to HTCS to see the new theatre so they could visualise the project and most were a little overwhelmed but staff from Eldon Grove Academy and Hart Primary School who’d already had a rehearsal were able to reassure everyone that everything would be ‘fine’ and not to worry.

Each Primary school had 15 performers ranging in age from Y3-Y5 and on the 12th February everyone arrived at HTCS for an all day rehearsal. For many of the pupils it was their first time in the new building and walking into the Heart and then the theatre was very exciting.

Rehearsals started and the morning passed quickly with each school taking to the stage and re-blocking their spacing as the stage was a lot bigger than their school halls. The rest of the schools looked on, eagerly awaiting their time and ably occupied by their own school staff.

Some of the songs were being performed by all the schools collectively.  The main two songs were Close every Door and Any Dream will do and once Isaac and Lucy had organised where each school was standing we were able to rehearse and very quickly we were finished – each school had prepared incredibly well.

The pupils had lunch in the Heart just after 12, allowing them to see up to the classrooms and to get used to how it may feel to be part of HTCS in just two years’ time when they are Y7.  After some outside playtime we met back in the theatre to finish rehearsing the last couple of songs.

Thursday was our performance day with three shows planned; at 10am, 1.45pm and 5pm to ensure we could accommodate all parents and carers of the 120 strong cast in our 234 seater theatre.  The cast arrived in colourful tee-shirts with our narrators: Elsa, Euan, Honey & Naomi dressed in black & white for contrast.  Jack was ready to wear the Dreamcoat and all mic’ed up and suddenly the audience was in and it was time.

The three shows were a great success with the Hartlepool Life visiting to take photos during the afternoon performance.  We had a great audience each time culminating with around 180 parents, carers, siblings and grandparents watching at 5pm.

The cast were absolutely amazing and such a lot of talent was evident, from solo singers to dancers to actors.  The project was a great success all round and we can’t wait to collaborate again with our Cluster Primary Schools and the Creative Arts Academy!