A Dickens of a surprise for cast of Junior School’s Scrooge musical

Thursday 12 December 2013

WEB Sheila Wilson with the cast of Scrooge A Ghost of a Chance2

In Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the central character Ebenezer Scrooge receives a number of surprise visitors as the story unfolds.

Pupils performing a musical adaptation of the famous tale for their Christmas production had their own unexpected guest when the show’s composer joined the audience at The Grammar School at Leeds (GSAL).

While Scrooge’s visitors reveal a few home truths and show him the error of his ways, musician and writer Sheila Wilson was full of praise for the cast and crew of GSAL Junior School’s production of Scrooge! A Ghost of a Chance, which she co-wrote with actor and lyricist Colin Baker of Dr Who fame.

Meeting after the show with year 5 pupils, who played the principal roles, Sheila said: “That was genuinely the best performance I have seen of this show. I was so impressed by how you all stayed in character throughout and never stopped acting even when you were singing and dancing. As I’m often playing the piano for this show, it was a real treat to be able to sit back and enjoy it.”

Sheila has now composed 60 musicals for children, a writing career which started with Hosanna Rock! in 1993, and says that she writes with flexibility in mind so that her shows can be produced in schools of all sizes.

GSAL Junior’s production involved around 300 children from years 3, 4 and 5, so in addition to the story played out by Dickens’ central characters, the various chorus numbers ranging from the upbeat ‘Fezziwig Rock and Roll’ to the dreamy ‘It’s Snowing’ ensured that everyone had plenty to do.

Junior school teacher Hayley Darby-Brown directed the show, the musical director working with the children was music teacher Karen Parkin and Junior School music leader Thelma Simpson arranged the music and led the band.

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