Fern Meets Dido – The Musical

Fern Meets Dido is a brand new musical written by Evadne Bygrave based on the book Fern Meets Dido Elizabeth Belle by David Gleave.  It will be performed The Shoestring Theatre, South Norwood by young people from the Croydon area who would be interested in performing arts.

The Story 

Fern is of mixed heritage and feels none of the history books reflect her. Then, on a school trip to Kenwood House in North London, she goes back in time and meets Dido Elizabeth. She born in about 1761, was the daughter of Maria an enslaved African woman and a British naval officer. The two girls were born in very different times but realise they have much in common. For the first time Fern sees that there were people in history just like her.

This is an intergenerational project involving young and old members from Croydon community.  The older cast members will take on the role of narrators and the aim is to create a caring and collaborative relationship between the two generations.

FERN MEETS DIDO – The Musical: 4th & 5th November 2018, The Shoestring Theatre, Oakley Road, SE25

David Gleave at  www.historycalroots.com

Education for All – Notting Hill Carnival


Carnival Queen

The Notting Hill Carnival is an annual event that has taken place since 1966 on the streets of Notting Hill.  The Steve Sinnott Foundation took part in the parade for the first time in 2016, joining the Cocoyeas band on children’s day.  Around 50 adults, children and young people supported the foundation’s ‘Education for All’ theme, highlighting their vision of a world where all children have access to quality education.



Costumes representing Hatti and Sierra Leone.

The amazing costumes worn by the children represented the countries the foundation supports.  The campaign song a ‘A Better Place to Be’ was written by Evadne Bygrave founder of Sing a Book and can be downloaded FREE from the Steve Sinnott Foundation website: www.stevesinnottfoundation.org.uk where you can also see more fantastic photos of the day.

Sing a Book’s first Musical Production

Staging for Into the Forest, using real tree branches.

Staging for Into the Forest, using real tree branches.

July 2015 saw the first musical production, Into The Forest, written, produced and directed by the founder of Sing a Book – Yvadne Bygrave. The production was based on the book by Anthony Browne and had a cast of 60 year 6 pupils from Belmont Primary School. They performed it to an audience of over 500 comprising of pupils, teachers, Governors and parents.

Staging & performance

The costume and stage design, created by Julie Evelin (a very creative TA), consisted of real greenery collected from the school grounds and costume that really reflected the characters’ personality inferred in the book.

Yvadne was determined to involve all the year 6 pupils in the final performance and in the staging of the production. This was evident in the play as each had a role, as a narrator, actor, dancer, singer or part of the choir. The choreography was created by the pupils who performed it and was simple enough for each to execute it well, yet diverse enough to hold the audience’s attention.

The Music

The 7 original songs, written by Yvadne Bygrave and produced by Michael Fuller and Johnathan Haizel of NZ Music, not only captured the thoughts and feelings of the characters, but also enriched the scenes. The songs were memorable, easy to learn and varied in genres, exposing the pupils to a range of different rhythms and musical styles.

Pupil’s feedback

“I thought it was amazing!”

“I loved the script and songs.”

“I loved it and the songs were lovely!”

“I loved the song Hansel & Gretel because it describes how they are feeling about not seeing their parents.”

Parent’s feedback

“The Wolfets & soloist were brilliant. Very enjoyable.”

“Brilliant! Reminded me of ‘Into the Hood’ (Zoo Nation). Very well done!”

“Great performance and very well created/put together.”

“Best performance yet!”

A special thank you to the headteacher, Mrs Caplin, for permitting an original play for the year 6’s end of year performance.