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Star Turns Hopscotch Theatre Company;Interview;Helen McLaughlin;Arts

* School: St Aloysius' Primary, Airdrie, North Lanarkshire; school roll 260, classes involved P1-7.

* Headteacher: Helen McLaughlin.

* What was the best arts company to visit your school in the past year? Hopscotch.

* How did you hear about them? They used to come to my previous school - St Helen's in Bishopbriggs - and I've never seen them give a bad performance.

* How long did they spend with you? An afternoon.

* What did they do? They put on an end-of-term pantomime, 'Jack and the Beanstalk'. The four players, three male and one female, performed the pantomime in our assembly hall, but they didn't do it on stage - they just used the floor, so they had their audience around them. They provided everything - costumes, props, taped music - and they involved the children in all the singing. It was true, traditional panto.

* Did you do any preparation? We read them the story of 'Jack and the Beanstalk'.

* Did you do any follow-up work? The children wrote stories, drew pictures and we took photographs to mount our own display of the event.

* What did the visit cost? pound;255.

* Who paid? The school's activities grant from the local authority.

* What was so good about them? In the past, we've taken the children to theatres, but costs have become prohibitive - tickets, transport, etc. This kind of event is very affordable and it allows the children to be much more involved. The visit was a fabulous success - with staff as well as children.

* How relevant was it to the curriculum? Though it was chiefly for entertainment, it was relevant to English language and the expressive arts.

* Hopscotch Theatre Company, tel: 0141 440 2025

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