Here is what the participants and audience thought of Blackheath Halls’ production of Benjamin Britten’s The Little Sweep which was performed at the Halls in April:
Feedback from children performers:
Did you enjoy the rehearsals for The Little Sweep?
• Yes, thoroughly enjoyed every minute! I have been inspired so much by working with such talented people. I am so grateful for this wonderful opportunity, and do hope that I will be part of some more in the future.
Did you enjoy performing in The Little Sweep?
• Yes, it was so lovely to make such great memories through performing in a spectacular performance which was put together by a fab cast and crew, and was credit to everyone’s hard work.
• It was the best feeling in the world!!!!!
What was the best thing about the rehearsals and performances?
• The memories made and meeting such amazing people as part of this wonderful learning experience. I loved being able to showcase such an amazing thing to the people that I care about.
• Singing in the night time chorus as it was beautiful with all the different bird song.
• The best thing about the performance was seeing the audience smiling.
What was the worst thing about the rehearsals and performances?
• That it had to come to an end. There was not a negative moment at all, aside from when I got a bit stressed about losing my voice, but even then, everyone was so supportive, and it meant the world – and was such credit to everyone’s kind nature.
What new things did you learn?
• How to work as part of a team, and how rewarding this can be. How much I love acting, as well as performing music – and the whole experience has been such valuable food for thought, in the shaping of my career path. – thank you all so much for this amazing opportunity! See you soon! Thank you!
• I didn’t know opera included acting. Being part of a big performance including the staging and lighting.
Feedback from parents:
What did your child gain (if anything) from their involvement in this project?
• Gosh, many things! Confidence, professionalism, maturity, teamwork, musical awareness, self-reliance, friendships…..
• This has been a remarkable experience for [my daughter]. What a fantastic opportunity. She has seen how a production is put together, and understood the commitment required to pull something off at a professional standard – a process she has thoroughly enjoyed. It has boosted her confidence on stage, and introduced her to opera – an art form she hadn’t previously experienced.
• [My daughter] also learnt that she can cultivate strong friendships beyond her school group – she was the only one from her school but quickly found like-minded girls to bond with. I think this has been a transformative project for her and I do hope you will be able to continue it in years to come.
• [My son] had a lot of fun and made some great friends. He felt nervous performing but was able to manage his anxiety so I think he gained confidence socially and in performance.
• Experience of putting on a professional production. Exposure to opera (first time). Meeting adult male professional singers in a really positive and child-friendly context. Enjoyment of being part of a choir.
What were your thoughts about the The Little Sweep performance?
• A great introduction to opera for the children. The staging was excellent and even my 2 year old nephew was riveted!
• At no stage were the children patronised and the high expectations led to a high level of achievement.
• Perfect too. I loved the design, the update, the performances, the inclusivity
for the children and the unpatronising way they worked with them – to a
professional level. I’ve not heard a complaint or a bad word from anyone
involved on any level.
• I thought it was very cleverly put together – a very creative approach to the opera with the modern story on top. I think the children did very well- the first performance was the best. I was amazed at how the children went into full performance mode and behaved and performed so well.
• Lovely – clever, fun and professional – great entertainment
• Very cleverly done – direction, the set, the involvement of the children. A good length (not too long).
Any other comments:
• She adored the whole process and it has given her confidence and joy. She will do more and more singing as a result of her involvement. Tackling so much Britten over the last couple of years is a wonderful way of ensuring that nothing seems too tricky. The team is superb, and many congratulations should be given all round. We hope there’s another one next year!
• Thank you for such an enjoyable experience for local children – very worthwhile. The chaperones did a marvellous job.
• All in all I was blown away by the experience of being in Little Sweep my life has been changed in so many ways not least in the attention I pay to birdsong. Thanks for making it happen..
• PS I’ve noticed in the last few weeks that J and L’s singing around the house has taken on a very operatic quality!
• They came home laughing and giggling ever day after rehearsals, full of hilarity! Happy with the friends they made. They loved being big sisters to the younger cast and certainly felt part of a little sweep family.
• [My daughter] gained renewed enthusiasm to practice her piano, after spending time with many highly musical children. She is also extremely keen to practice for next year’s audition to be a principal – she is just aching to perform.
Feedback fronm rom the audience:
• What a show! Seriously. The best thing I have seen at The Halls.
• We wanted to say how much we enjoyed the Operetta. It was a real Community production. The little sextet sang delightfully.
• I rediscovered just the beauty of human voice and the power of acting (interesting to see two people sharing the same character and acting very differently).