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What we’ve seen, May 2013

  • Date: 31 May 2013
  • Area: London
Children dressed as a dragon

Pupils from Cricket Green School and Perseid School perform 'The Golden Heart'.. Credit: Richard Johnson/Classic FM

Each month we see as much as possible of the work produced by the hundreds of artists, organisations and projects we fund across the capital - as well as take part ourselves too. This month our staff have picked their highlights:

Ontroerend Goed

Ontroerend Goed are known for their teasing and testing of the relationship between theatre, performer and audience, Belgian company Ontroerend Goed recently presented two of their projects at The Unicorn Theatre - Teenage Riot and All That is Wrong. Two of the Theatre team went to see these shows:

Teenage Riot is a challenging, frank, warts ‘n’ all, portrayal of teenage life and what it is to grow up in a 21st century global society, told through an irreverent collage of words, rants and images performed by a group of young actors. 

A central cube acts as a sort of den inside which the teenagers choose to be, or from which, they are occasionally ejected. The audience sits outside their world, observing what the inhabitants select to feed us, filmed live, and projected onto the front facade of the box.

I was gripped, and I came away feeling like I’d witnessed a battle of free will versus angst. Here, I can do whatever I want. Here, I want to do whatever I can. But actually what you think of me matters. 

All That Is Wrong moves on from Teenage Riot. The central character is now 18 and has started to see her place in the world, and that the world is not all she wants it to be. It is a stripped bare performance, with Kobe writing words to describe the world she sees around her, expressing the terror and excitement of growing up.

Equally gripping, this piece was beautiful to watch and surprisingly thought-provoking as the audience followed Kobe’s own path of words with a personal understanding, and obviously hit a chord with the young people sat around me.   

These shows are a bold piece of programming from the Unicorn and progress their aim to present and collaborate with outstanding theatre makers from different countries.

Claire Saddleton and Pam Vision, Relationship Managers, Theatre team.

Music is for Life 

The Music is for Life event at the Royal Albert Hall was organised and led by Merton Music Foundation, the lead partner for Merton’s Music Education Hub. Over 1,500 primary, secondary and special school pupils from over 28 schools in the London Borough of Merton took part in the spectacular event to show off the musical talent of the borough.

An undoubted highlight of the evening was the ‘Golden Heart’ a performance by Key Stage 3 pupils from Cricket Green School and Key Stage 2 pupils from Perseid School. A bold, beautifully produced, very professional performance by children and teachers from the two special schools. 

The second half witnessed a performance of The Journey by the Merton Schools Massed Choir, London Vocal Project and Merton Youth Music. Featuring guest soloists Gary Palmer, Guillermo Rozenthuler and members of the London Vocal Project, this piece was an inspirational lesson in history and musical styles as it charted the history of immigration over the last one thousand years into the UK.

Written by world-renowned musician and educator Pete Churchill, the performance was the culmination of six month’s intensive work with 28 Merton primary, secondary and special schools as part of the Charity’s borough-wide singing strategy. The event was covered by Classic FM working in partnership with the Hub.

Louise Cleverdon, Relationship Manager, Music. 

Breakin’ Convention, Sadler’s Wells

Breakin’ Convention is the annual hip hop dance theatre festival which takes place over the first Bank Holiday weekend in May and this year it was celebrating its 10th anniversary.

To celebrate the anniversary Bank Holiday Monday evening was given over to showcasing 10 of the UK’s best hip hop dance theatre companies and for the first time ever there was a free Park Jam on the Monday afternoon featuring a live band, MC’s, open cyphers and live graffiti.

Breakin’ Convention always transforms Sadler’s Wells with families coming along to enjoy the experience. Long may it continue.

Samantha Reader, London Assistant, Dance.