Musical theatre gives children an opportunity to express themselves, be exposed to difficult situations and learn how to manage these situations in a creative way. Through the arts of dance, acting and music they learn new forms of communication in a range of unique ways. Exposure to the arts can help improve children’s academic achievement and develop their self-expression and social skills.
At SING A BOOK we are passionate about musical theatre and recognise that it is a powerful platform to tell stories that are not always easy to tell without judgement or offending. It allows participants to form a connection with people and impact upon their lives by conveying the message in a very subtle way through the emotion of the songs.
Our culturally relevant productions celebrate Black historical characters that have made significant contributions to British history who come into contact with the main protagonist, Dido Belle who travels through her looking glass and was one of Britain’s first Black aristocrats from the 18th century. We encourage cast members from the community aged 7 – 18 and 55+ that have been historically underrepresented in theatre.
Into Da Endz
This modern day morality tale develops
empathy and examines family cohesion,
social media obsession and disadvantage.
Into Da Endz is an original intergenerational play highlighting some of the issues faced by some members of our disadvantaged communities. Its original songs by Evadne Bygrave and music by Michael Fuller of various genres will introduce participants to a range musical experiences including opera!
The pandemic has left many members of the community isolated and feeling cut off from the rest of the community and its activities. Our play’s subject matter will highlight some of the issues experienced by individuals to generate empathy and a sense of belonging to all participants. Young and older people will have the opportunity to work, learn and perform together to bridge the generational and cultural gap across communities.
The spring project in 2022, funded by National Lottery Community fund, took place during the February half term at St. Anthony’s R.C. Primary School and at Goldsmiths Community Centre (GCC) during the Easter break.
The 2023 summer project will take place in Croydon as part of their Borough of Culture celebration during the summer holidays (4-week Boot Camp from 2nd – 25th August & 1st September) with live shows on 2nd & 3rd September.
Dido Through the Looking Glass – The Musical
By popular demand from parents, teachers and community members we did it again in September 2021! The project took place at Goldsmiths Community Centre, SE6 1QD and we delivered a 4-week Boot Camp for performing art, African drumming and animated music video production:
In this production, Dido was transported through her looking glass to Jamaica and met Sam Sharpe one of their National Heroes who played a significant role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
The young cast, aged 6 – 10 and our over 55 narrators, gave an outstanding performance in each of the 4 shows to the general public. The play received rave reviews from the audience and was commended by DTA (Decolonising the Achive) for its creative and innovative use of performing arts to deliver a painful part of Black history.
Watch the full play via Vimeo for a small donation, which goes towards giving children that are underrepresented in musical theatre the opportunity to take part in future productions. To make a donation or to inform us that you cannot afford one please email email@example.com as we want everyone to enjoy Dido’s incredible journey of self-discovery and belonging.
The 2021 production was funded by Arts Council England, Community Waves, Crowdfunding Supporters, Arnold Clarke Community Fund and supported by Holiplay, PT Rose, Scone Palace, Goldsmith Community Centre, Sunflowers Florist, NEU Bromley & Bexley and delivered by a dedicated team of volunteers. If you are want to join our team of volunteers please get in touch.
Dido Through the Looking Glass – The Musical
After the success of Fern Meets Dido – The Musical in Croydon (October 2018), Sing a Book brought Dido Belle to Lewisham as part of the Festival of Creative Ageing (September 2019). Dido Through the Looking Glass – The Musical was another brand new musical featuring Dido Belle, who goes through looking to meet Mary Seacole, a British-Jamaican nurse who set up her own hotel to help the soldiers during the Crimean war and Samuel Coleridge -Taylor the great English composer of African descent.
Fern Meets Dido – The Musical
The musical took place at The Shoestring Theatre, South Norwood on 3rd and 4th November 2018. It presented Dido Belle and raised awareness that there were wealthy aristocrats of African-enslaved descent living in England during the 18th Century. Dido Belle grew up in Kenwood House in north London and enjoyed many privileges of wealth, but not all due to her mixed heritage.
Fern Meets Dido was an intergenerational Community Cohesion project involving local businesses that supported the project financial and in-kind. The cast was from the BME community of Croydon and aged 7 – 82. The young members began to develop skills in performing arts during the two week Boot Camp that took place in the summer holiday. Along with our more senior members, they were totally committed to the production in preparation for their musical theatre debut.
All 4 shows, including press night, were completely sold out! The vast majority of participants were BME, female and from communities and groups that have been hard to reach for theatre and massively under-represented in their access to the arts as participants and audience.
By bringing the two generations together in a positive environment with a shared goal we provided opportunities to break down barriers and build a stronger community.
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MTN & MMD Music Theatre Network