Saturday, June 23, 2007

"Our take" on Liverpool's 800th birthday with local school children

One of the great benefits of Wendy having been elected to Kensington and Fairfield in May is that we can share some of the work and ensure that at least one of us can get to important meetings and events. We found out quite late about a public residents meeting on the Phythian on Thursday night and I had already accepted an invitation to the big children's show at the Olympia, just on the edge of the estate.

Wendy went to the meeting on behalf of us both and by all accounts it was lively and very well attended. They are proving very useful in giving the residents a chance to talk to various agencies about their concerns and to learn about key new intiatives in the area. Now we just need to set up a proper residents' committee to manage the administration and we can start fund-raising for events and schemes, really getting the show on the road.

And talking about shows, what a treat for me. I accepted the invite to a grand show, featuring local children from Kensington Infants and Juniors, New Park Primary and Phoenix Primary as well as Broadgreen High where a lot of our local kids attend. There were lots of other schools represented too - Bueberry Park, Broadgreen Primary, Lawrence road, Bluecoat, Knotty Ash and St Anne's Stanley.

The show was a look back at the 800 years of Liverpool's history, featuring sketches, music, singing and dancing about the granting of the charter by King John in 1207, the port of Liverpool, the plague, the slave trade, the Irish connections, Stephenson's Rocket (that would be George, not Robert Louis, twice in a fortnight I have heard people get that wrong), World War 2 and the blitz, Blood Brothers (which I have never heard of but Sharon tells me is a must see musical from the 1960s) Ken Dodd (full marks to the adorable Kensington Infants for their diddymen routine) and of course pop music and football.

I particularly enjoyed Cody McDowell who sang Amazing Grace solo and unaccompanied, she has a great voice, one to watch and still only year 9 at Broadgreen. Also The Big Dig by ARC and DRB - I dont know what the acronyms stand for but they were deaf kids signing songs and other kids in wheelchairs, wheeling dizzyingly across the stage in hard hats and tabards. An interesting political sketch with great comic timing. It was good to see a few boys dancing along with the girls in some of the class troupes too. It is not fair really though to single anyone out as every child gave a genuinely polished all round performance.

It was clearly a very professional enterprise, great costumes and make-up, good choreography and huge numbers of kids involved.

There was upwards of 500 parents, siblings and supporters in the theatre, I sat with Councillor Sharon Sullivan and her son Harry and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I only wish more councillors had been there to see what a great job our kids did and what a good time everyone had. Top marks to all concerned, and if the Culture Company made much bigger PR efforts about shows like these (which they supported) instead of promoting the flashy stuff with the big name celebs then they might not get such a bad press!

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