Bogles, Marsh Sprites & Green Mists: Three Fenland Stories
Music, shadow puppetry and storytelling for primary school children
For four years, Goldfield have toured our schools’ productions to the Fens. Now, for 2019 we bring the Fens to the fore, combining the fascinating landscape and folklore of this area with music from the British Isles in our new production: Bogles, Marsh Sprites & Green Mists: Three Fenland Stories.
Our Three Fenland Stories are based on old folk tales reimagined through the eyes and ears of children. Linking the stories are ancient childhood games, rhymes and rituals – the lore of school children and the playground, a culture forgotten or mostly ignored by adults. Our new show is an inspirational, quirky, mysterious and uplifting rhythmical journey through the ‘black glistening peat-lands, where great black snags work their way up from submerged forests below’, where bogles and marsh sprites play tricks and a North sea wind whistles through stunted willows….
This original story is illustrated with shadowy images and musical extracts from an extraordinary blend of arranged folk song, percussion and some of the finest 20th century chamber music for string quartet:
- Gustav Holst – St Pauls Suite for strings
- Ralph Vaughan Williams – Norfolk Rhapsody
- Elizabeth Maconchy – String quartets number 3 and 11
The show is written, directed and produced by Kate Romano and performed by members of the Goldfield Ensemble. It is ideally suited for KS1 and KS2 – although we usually find that grown-ups love our shows just as much!
Three Fenland Stories was developed as part of the Live Music In Schools 2019 scheme. We are extremely grateful to the Cambridgeshire Music Hub for their vision, funding and support and the creation of this outstanding scheme.
Shadowy images from the show
A little bit of background to our work....
‘Beautiful, thoughtful, mesmeric, funny and what wonderful music…what a terrific and imaginative way to tell stories with music and it appealed to all of our children from year 1 to year 6’
(Great Staughton Primary School, 2018)
Our children’s productions are unique; we never ‘dumb down’ and we aren’t afraid to tackle topical, relevant issues in a child-friendly manner. We mix humour, fact, fiction, empathy and wide-eyed curiosity with wonderful chamber music, drawing children (and adults) into our magical, shadowy worlds. Our childrens’ productions are developed at the highest level, yet still able to ‘pop-up’ in a school with just 30 minutes get -in time.
‘Astonishingly good – you kept 300 children absolutely captivated from start to finish…’
(Foxton Primary School, 2018)
Since 2015, we have told the stories of paper birds and paper trees, marvellous inventions, puppets who play toy pianos, the man who thought birds migrated to the moon, gypsy fortune tellers and refugee children who have adventures in far off lands. Each story is written and narrated by Goldfield Artistic Director Kate Romano (a story writer and presenter for BBC Radio 3) interwoven with extracts of inspiring and memorable chamber music. Over four years, children have discovered toe-tapping repertoire by Stravinksy and Bartok, the mesmerising sonic landscape of John Adams and Philip Glass, string quartets by Ravel, Beethoven, Haydn and the uplifting and poignant folk music from the UK and far-flung reaches of Afghanistan. Children have sung with us, created percussion ‘machines’ and learned how to make their own music-box compositions with our interactive online Scratch game.
‘Absolutely magical….. Thank you so much for the opportunity to have live music come to Eynesbury and Brampton this week. The children loved it and the Goldfield Ensemble pitched their concert really well to the children and kept their attention throughout’
(Brampton Primary School, 2018)
‘My children couldn’t stop talking about it when we went back to our classroom.. all the children were engaged, interested and enthralled by the stories, puppetry and music…. you grabbed their attention, caught their imaginations and held them with great timing, action and of course the amazing music’
(Steeple Morden Primary School, 2018)
Three Fenland Stories Production Information
STAGE REQUIREMENTS AND SHOW DETAILS
- Stage must be flat – no special flooring requirements.
- As the show involves shadow-play, the performance space needs to be able to shut out direct light / sunlight. The room does not have to be pitch block, but it must be possible to reduce natural day light by around 75%. Simple blinds 3/4 closed or curtains mostly drawn are adequate.
- Staging size: space to seat string quartet with 4 music stands. To SR, space for screen (approx 5 ft square) and projector with 2m throw situated behind screen. Please allow space for the narrator to move comfortably in front of the screen. Most school halls are ideal.
The production can be seen by up to 180 children at any one time. Smaller numbers are preferable for a more intimate experience. Please note that the experience will be compromised if children are not able to see the shadow screen from the front. ‘Deep’ seating is therefore preferable to ‘wide’ seating. The production is acoustic and performed without microphones. The production is suitable for KS1 and KS2 children. It is ideally suited for years 1-6.
Duration: approx 50 minutes
Audio and comms: No sound system / audio is necessary. No communications system necessary.
We would be grateful if venues could provide:
- 4 x musicians chairs
- I x long table / low bench (such as the ‘balancing beam’ benches used in school gyms and assemblies)
- Sockets near to the performance space
All items below provided by Goldfield Productions.
Three Fenland Stories set comprises:
- 1 x projection screen: freestanding, floor mounted 5ft square screen (stretched fire-treated canvas over metal frame)
- 1 x portable overhead projector and small props
- 5 x lit music stands
Get-in / set-up time: 30 minutes minimum (but we prefer 45!).
Venues must be able to offer space for an estate car close to the venue and easily accessible throughout Goldfield’s engagement including set-up and performance.
Goldfield Productions will provide:
- Goldfield Productions insurance documents
- Enhanced DBS certificates if required
26th March – Linton Heights School (Cambridgeshire)
26th March – Granta School (Cambridgeshire)
27th March – Hartford Junior School (Cambridgeshire)
27th March – Castle School (Cambridgeshire)
28th March – Caister Infants (Norfolk)
28th March – John Grant school (Norfolk)
28th March – Moorlands School
29th March – Peter House School (Norfolk)
29th March – Edward Worlledge School (Norfolk)
29th March – North Denes School
22nd April – Heaton Hall Manchester (tickets available shortly)
10th May – Ashwell Festival (buy tickets here )
12th July – Lichfield Festival (tickets available shortly)
Optional additional workshop for primary schools
‘What’s your name? Mary Jane
Where do you live? Down the lane
What do you keep? A little shop
What do you sell? Ginger pop.
How many bottles do you sell in a day?
Twenty-four, now go away.’
(Swansea skipping rhyme)
We offer a fun, friendly 60-minute workshop for KS2 children (max 30) that complements the touring show, using singing, speech-rhythms and un-pitched percussion (including simple body percussion). What are the musical patterns and rhythms we create when we speak? What patterns do we find in old playground rhymes, skipping songs, riddles and rituals? Using the ancient playground rhymes as models, children work in small groups to create and perform their own playground rhymes and riddles with singing and percussion. What words (perhaps nonsense words?) might we use today? Can you tap the beat and make an interesting percussion part to the rhyme? For older children; can you perform two rhymes or riddles at once? How do they overlap?
What will children learn and achieve?
At the end of an hour, each class will have devised their own riddles or rituals combining physical skills, pattern making and rhythm and can perform to each other. Working directly alongside professional musicians, the workshop is designed to:
- encourage creative composition and develop their sense of rhythm
- enhance their listening skills (ability to hear a beat, to recognise patterns and cross-rhythms)
- encourage collaborative skills and group working by making music with others and ability to hear a beat.
Who is it suitable for?
Everyone. The emphasis on practical, hands-on experimentation and non-standardised methods of communicating sounds and ideas make this workshop suitable for all children including those with special educational needs. This fully inclusive workshop is designed to ignite imaginations and develop creativity within a friendly and safe framework, enabling children to communicate and express ideas with confidence. It leaves a ‘can-do’ legacy; children can continue to make riddles and rhymes with their teachers after the event. Like the show, it demonstrates that imagination and resourcefulness are the most important ingredients for making creative work.
What does the school need to provide?
- A classroom and ideally 2 or 3 additional break-out spaces
- Access to school percussion instruments is helpful (Goldfield will also bring a small selection)
- Something to write on (eg a white board / flip chart etc)
We very much hope to see you in 2019!