Star Turns

21st April 2000 at 01:00
School: Torryburn primary, Dunfermline. Pupil roll 116 including nursery, whole school involved. Headteacher Fiona Malcolm.

What was the best arts company or event to visit your school during the past year?

Eduardo Sanchez, the Peruvian mime artist.

How did you hear about him?

He rang me up - that's what he does when he's working in an area. We've had him before and we'll be having him back again, too.

This is quite a mixed, deprived area, so we do what we can to bring entertainers to the children.

How long did he spend at the school?

The performance in the morning was about an hour and a half, and then he did workshops with the older children, primaries 5, 6 and 7, in the afternoon.

What did he do?

All sorts of mime. Comedy is the main theme - that and movement. His movement was particularly interesting. He would fall on the floor or, indicating a pane of glass with his hands, he would enact falling through a window.

His set and props are minimal; he does everything against a black cloth. He's dressed in black and only his face and hands are whitened.

But it's vry colourful, too. Your eyes are drawn to the few very simple props in bright colours, the things he pulls out of his box - balls, hats, cloths.

Did you do any preparation?

Because we'd had him before, we knew what to expect, so we did a bit of extra miming practice with the children beforehand.

Any follow-up work?

Yes, we incorporated what he had taught the children into drama lessons.

What was so good about him?

You have to be very good at mime to grab the children's attention, to steal the audience the way he does and to work without language. He moves beautifully in a kind of slow motion way.

Some of our children are not the best behaved and they sat enthralled.

How relevant was it to the curriculum?

There was a lot of relevance, not only to drama but also to social development skills - the ability to sit still and use their eyes, the patience to enjoy.

What did the visit cost?

pound;130 - very good value.

Who paid?

The school fund paid part and nominal contributions from the children made up the rest.

Eduardo Sanchez, tel 0141 423 8118.


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