Thank God it's Friday
Tuesday The girl playing Maria in the death scene has tonsillitis. In the interests of democracy, there are as many Marias as there are girls wishing to play her. We have two Anitas, several Tonys and a couple of Riffs and Bernardos. It works. The children are busy turning our top hall into Brooklyn. A parent has filmed the "rumble", choreographed by the teacher who runs the Capoeira after-school club, and we see the edited version. It looks great. This is now a multi-media production.
Wednesday There is a special type of exhaustion experienced by Year 6 teachers as they approach that all important performance deadline: fatigue spiked with adrenalin and nervous anxiety. Good news: Maria is getting better and should be in tomorrow.
Thursday Dress rehearsal performances today: key stage 2 in the morning and key stage 1 in the afternoon. The children, including Maria, surpass themselves and the morning performance is wonderful. The audience love it.
Year 4 write five-star reviews. Loads of mistakes in the afternoon - mostly mine. I forget to turn up the volume at the dance.
Friday I am approached by several children who want to check that I will remember their cue. Parents arrive sooner than expected and so witness some of the last minute stress. The show goes on and goes well. The children speak up and sing out and their performances are both believable and beautiful. And when they sing "somewhere, there's a place for us" - beneath a screen projecting the photographs they have taken of themselves around the school - we have a chance to reflect. They are growing up. It is time they moved on.
Val Rutt teaches part-time at Yerbury primary school in the London borough of Islington. Her second novel for nine to 12-year-olds, The Mystery of the Darkstone, is published by Puffin