Star turns

31st October 1997 at 00:00
School: Springfield Primary, Gretna Green, 36 pupils; headteacher Helen Carlyle.

What has been the best arts event to visit your school in the past year? Yuri and Tonya, a circus act, British but of Russian descent.

How did you hear about them? They mailed the school but we had also heard how good they were from another school.

What did they do? They performed all sorts of tricks - unicycling, skittles, plate-spinning, juggling: the traditional skills which, in Russia, you have to train to perform. They're not just knockabout funny, they're very practised. They came with all their own costumes and lighting and props, and did a workshop afterwards with the children teaching them how to master the skills.

Did you do any preparation beforehand? No, there was no need.

Did you do any follow-up work? The workshop was the follow-up and we purchased various things like sets of juggling balls, so that the children could practise afterwards.

How much did it cost? Because we are such a small school, we gave them our "sob-story" and they very kindly gave us a special rate of about Pounds 1 per child, but that was a special discount.

Who paid? The ParentTeachers Association.

What was so good about Yuri and Tonya? The fact that they were a live company coming into the school, and displaying the skills and involving the children - that was in such contrast to television, and they held the children absolutely absorbed in what they were doing.

How relevant was it to the curriculum? There was an obvious safety message in everything they did, but also it is part of our development plan to work on new ideas for the children in the playground, which involve practising to master skills, and this visit provided lots of ideas.

Yuri and Tonya, tel: 01253 735725; mobile: 0860 505301

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