Star turns;Arts in Scotland;Interview;Alasdair Eadie

20th March 1998 at 00:00
School: Trinity Primary, Edinburgh; school roll 435, age of children involved 4-11; headteacher Alasdair Eadie

What was the best arts companyartist to visit your school in the past year? James Campbell, a storyteller

How did you hear about him? He contacted us directly and sounded very good - and the price was within our reach.

How long did he spend with you? The whole morning. He performed for P1-P3 before break and P4-P7 after break.

What did he do? We've had various storytellers in the past who've been good, but they tended to be very Scottish-orientated, dressed in kilts and so on. But Campbell used no props or costumes. He told stories - not mythical or folkloric, but stories he writes himself, about everyday things that children can relate to, like the story of a pet cat who could talk. He simply used facial expressions and hand gestures and was very powerful. In between, he was like a stand-up comic. He is really a natural comedian.

Did you do any preparation? No

Any follow-up work? Yes. We had a wee review of the event afterwards, discussing how the children felt about it, and we bought a tape from him for pound;5 that we could play to the younger children.

How much did it cost? It was a bargain. About pound;100

Who paid? The school fund

What was so good about him? He's the kind of person who walks into a room and a hush falls: he has real presence. He held the children - and some of the younger female staff - spellbound. For each performance he had an audience of about 200 children in the gym hall, and yet he kept them all enthralled. He was a very good actor. All the staff were impressed.

How relevant was his visit to the curriculum? Extremely. Everything these days is so visually orientated that it is very good to have something like this, which is focused on language and listening, listening, listening.

Contact James Campbell, tel: 01463 751275

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