CONCORDIA FOUNDATION YOUNG AUDIENCES PROJECT 2016
The story of the Great Fire of London
as you've never heard it before...
by John Savournin & Rosamond Savournin
To celebrate the 350th Anniversary of the Great Fire of London, we invited John Savournin, Concordia baritone & actor/director, to write and produce our 16th Young Audiences production, Fyer! Fyer!. The project involved workshops in music, art and drama at five schools in Tower Hamlets, skillfully shaped to tie into the content of the interactive production that took place at Wilton’s Music Hall on Thursday 14th April. The production was attended by over 300 pupils from the five participating schools, and further pupils from a visiting school from Croydon.
During the music workshops, children were taught songs and actions that would feature in the production, enabling them to participate and engagefully during the performance. In the art workshops, pupils were able to design and construct diorama of 17th century houses that were later integrated into the set onstage at Wilton’s. During the drama workshops, pupils creatively explored the historical context and themes that featured within the plot of Fyer! Fyer!.
Fyer! Fyer! was a roaring success, teaching hundreds of children about the Great Fire of London in a fun and engaging manner. It told an exciting story about a theatre troupe whose fates were intertwined with the events of the Great Fire. Funny and light-hearted, its whimsical nature appealed to children and adults alike, with the young audience fully invested in the show. It was a particularly inspiring opportunity for the children, as it gave them a chance to see a group of professional, talented young actors and musicians in live performance. This was further enhanced by the glorious surroundings of Wilton’s Music Hall, which provided an appropriately historical setting for the events of the play.
At the Concordia Foundation, we believe that this kind of artistic interactivity is crucial for nurturing and encouraging young talent, enabling us to effectively reach out to children in a unique and impactful way. Uniting John Savournin’s wonderfully creative vision for the project, together with a troupe of fantastic young performers and musicians led by Musical Director Rosamond Savournin, and the boundless enthusiasm shown by our participating school children, Fyer! Fyer! was by far one of the most memorable of all our performances in our Young Audiences series.
Please see below for some of the wonderful feedback we have received from our cast, participants and guests regarding the Fyer! Fyer! Young Audiences project:
John Savournin, Director/Performer - “This was my third Young Audiences Project, and once again this incredibly rewarding work has reminded me of the importance of this kind of project to the future of the arts. It is a unique opportunity for children to be integrated into a curriculum-inspired piece of music theatre, introducing them to a wide range of music, and involving them in a piece of drama, and it was wonderful to be at the atmospheric Wilton's Music Hall, which added to the experience for all involved. What struck me this year was the ongoing impact of the project within the schools, beyond the workshops we took in, and the performances. One of the teachers who attended with her class is now intending to expand aspects of the show that focused on eye witnesses of the Great Fire to plan a creative writing assignment. Another took his class on a day trip and sang the songs they'd learnt from the show on a boat, where they experienced the echoing acoustic of a tunnel. Hopefully this has proved inspirational to the children - maybe they will even form a choir at the school! It is so gratifying to hear that these projects contribute to inspiring our young audiences, and hopefully help to build the future of the music and theatre industries. I look forward to leading the Young Audiences project in Spring 2017 and working with Concordia in the future.”
John has been a Concordia Foundation Artist since 2005. He was awarded a Special Artists prize in 2007 and won our Founders prize in 2014. John is the Artistic Director of Charles Court Opera and has directed three of our Young Audiences projects, starting with the production of “Shadows of What May be...” in 2012.
Darren Rubin, Head of School at St Paul’s Church of England Primary School - “Our year five class absolutely loved it and I thought the acting, singing and music were superb. It is quite something to have such a spectacular hall full of children captivated by what is going on around them. We also brought along our Year 4 class who have a lot of very challenging children. One child in particular who is having a very difficult time of things was in raptures. The fact that he was able to sit through the whole performance, take part and enthuse about it afterwards is testament to the hard work you and your team put into everything they do. I am so grateful that you provide such enrichment to our children - it really makes a difference.”
Dasha Shenkman, Sponsor & Concordia Trustee - “It was clear that the children were enjoying the show hugely and that John, Ros, other members of the cast and musicians were putting their hearts and souls into it, having worked very hard to make a fun show, with the added educational element. Chapeaux to YOU and everyone who made this show - and others - happen for these children. I'm so pleased to be involved and to watch the children's joy. As you know I spend time with them, in particular Year 4, and as Darren Rubin wrote, they were captivated!”
Thank you to all those involved in the Fyer! Fyer! production:
Cast & Musicians
John Savournin director/actor/baritone; Rosamond Savournin MD;
Catrine Kirkman soprano; Rosanne Havel soprano;
Matt R. J. Ward tenor; Philip Lee tenor;
Anne Hopfmüller violin; David Sloan cello; James Pritchard drums
Designers & Technicians
Michelle Bradbury designer; Nicholas Holdridge lighting designer
St Paul’s; St John’s; Christchurch; Shapla and Osmani
With special thanks to:
Sponsors Dasha Shenkman OBE and the Taurus Foundation