Comedy, fun and chaos at Thurrock schools
Earlier this summer, The Complete Commedia Company brought the heritage, history and outrageous fun of Commedia dell’Arte to Thurrock’s schools in a brilliantly modern way. Here’s everything you need to know...
Thurrock schools join the Commedia Community Chorus
After a tumultuous 18 months for the whole of the UK, we were hugely excited to be able to bring a brand new show to those most in need of a fresh spark of inspiration: our local children.
Schoolyard Scenarios is an educational and COVID-safe tour that transports the theatrical stylings of renaissance-era Italy to schools – infusing comedy, music and a sense of infectious interactivity to get kids across the borough out of their seats and involved in the action.
Image credit: Mike Johnson for T100 Festival/Kinetika
Each stop on our initial tour kicked off with a hilarious live show, before inviting students to learn all about the distinctive characters, movements and traditional masks of classic Commedia dell’Arte. That’s alongside learning a raft of circus skills from internationally-acclaimed company Gandini, who came to Thurrock to join us.
A welcomed opportunity
The 16th century Italian art form of Commedia dell’Arte is well suited to the safety limitations imposed by COVID-19. The artform’s origins saw travelling performers set up stages in the middle of bustling market squares, so they wouldn’t find themselves out of place in Schoolyard Scenarios – with our makeshift stages popping up in playgrounds across Thurrock.
And, having been deprived of the chance to see and get involved in live theatre throughout the pandemic, the students in participating primary and secondary schools alike took to Commedia’s exaggerated style with palpable enthusiasm.
The groups, guided by five of our talented performers and joined by Owen Reynolds – an associate artist of internationally renowned juggling company Gandini – enjoyed lively workshops and a final performance that brought all their learnings together.
As an added bonus, Blatella Films documented the entire project, which will soon be edited into a fantastic video compilation of the tour. We’ll be hosting the video here on our site, and we’ll be inviting schools to a digital screening to celebrate the show’s success and the students' hard work.
When it becomes possible to do so, we’re also planning on bringing these schools – collectively part of the Commedia Community Chorus – together for a live festival of Commedia dell’arte.
Get in on the action
Following this successful initial run, you can now book our Schoolyard Scenarios show for your primary or secondary school students!
To do so, please get in touch on 07791183999, or through our contact form.
You can download the press release here.