Help children learn how to fight and fly

4th April 2003 at 01:00
WANTED: teachers to push pupils off tall buildings, throw them through plate-glass windows and smash bottles over their heads.

They are needed for a new holiday camp which will offer 10 to 16-year-olds the chance to fly like Harry Potter or fight like Legolas.

Stunt Camp will offer instruction in child-sized stunts seen in films such as the Lord of the Rings movies, Mission: Impossible and The Matrix.

Participants will learn how to fall into airbags, how to punch and be punched without injury and how to stage a bar-room brawl.

The camp, which will be run from Shepperton Studios, in Middlesex, was conceived by writer and director Gary Wicks, during a conversation with stuntman Greg Powell. Mr Powell, who worked as stunt co-ordinator for the Harry Potter films, received four sacks of letters from children wanting to try Quidditch, the airborne ballgame played by Harry and his friends.

Mr Wicks said: "We wanted something totally hands-on, where everybody gets to fight, fall and smash a bottle over someone's head."

There will be a three-day Easter pilot for 90 children, followed by a week-long summer camp for 180 participants. Mr Wicks is looking for 50 teachers to work alongside the stunt actors. They must meet basic levels of fitness, but do not need any PE-teaching experience.

Mr Wicks said: "Stuntmen are not big with words. We want teachers to bring communication skills, to get enthusiasm going."

He is not concerned that he will be inundated by applicants looking for an opportunity to blow up a class with impunity. Instead, Mr Wicks believes that teachers will be surprised by the discipline that stunts demand from children, who will pay pound;350 to go on the summer camp. The Easter one will be free.

Mr Powell said pupils will leave healthier, fitter and braver. He rejected suggestions that teachers may adopt stunt techniques when they return to their day jobs.

"The fitness side could come into it. But I don't think crashing bowls over someone's head should be a part of school education."

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