Orchestra of the Swan and Talking Birds present:
Ant & Cleo – The Musical!
7 & 8 November 2014, Stratford ArtsHouse
· ‘Ant & Cleo’ - a fun, family friendly adaptation of the story of Antony and Cleopatra.
· An innovative project working with schools catering for those with special educational needs.
· Project winner of a public vote to receive funding from ITV’s People’s Millions.
Coventry-based theatre company Talking Birds in partnership with Orchestra of the Swan in Stratford, have collaborated with three schools for a unique and family friendly adaptation of the story of Antony and Cleopatra.The performers in Ant & Cleo are pupils from two schools catering for special educational needs - Welcombe Hills and Brays School in Stratford-upon-Avon and Birmingham respectively, and a mainstream primary school, Bridgetown School in Stratford-upon-Avon. Ninety children aged nine to eleven will take part in the production, supported by four professional actor/singers playing the title roles and assorted Gods and Caesars, as well as an eleven-piece orchestra.
The production will develop the children’s singing and musical skills and aims to change attitudes towards young people with learning and physical disabilities.
Taking the stories by Plutarch and Shakespeare as a starting point, the children’s ideas have greatly inspired the script, music, design and dramatic interpretation of the play, all developed in workshops since the beginning of the year.As a result, composer Gustav Holst is quoted in the same song as One Direction; a musical phrase references the theme to ‘The Simpsons’, and the children’s favourite football teams, Chelsea and Aston Villa, also make an appearance. The songs are incredibly catchy, fun and involve memorable hand signs derived from Makaton sign language or from consultation with the children.
Peter Cann, Director says:‘Devising workshops in the schools shaped the piece before a word or note was written. The writer and composer have woven the children’s images and melodies into the final piece, and that collaboration has continued into the staging of sea battles and creation of siege engines. The result is a reimagining of the story that could only have come from working with these particular children.’
Last year Ant & Cleo was voted winner of a public vote for The People’s Millions, a partnership between Big Lottery Fund and ITV, to fund local community projects. As a result, the production gained £49,822 of funding from The People’s Millions and a further £4,250 from other trusts and foundations.Ant & Cleo will be performed on 7-8 November 2014 at Stratford ArtsHouse. www.stratfordartshouse.co.uk