Tonight the Quantock Hills were alive with the sound of music, and wood being chopped, and dragons roaring, and people laughing! The children of Keystage Two, Kingfisher and Woodpecker Classes, performed a play that they have written themselves, based on the Quantock legend, 'The Gurt Wurm of Shervage Wood'. They performed outside, under the open sky, to families and friends picnicking on the grass before them.
Unicorns, worttleberries, naughty goblins, vicars, fairies, woodcutters, villagers and independent old ladies whirled before us for over an hour as the children's incredible tale unfolded before us, wrapped in wonderful songs. The children clever combined the traditional tale of deforestation with today's continuing issues of loss of habitat and plastic pollution, reminding us that our responsibilities lie all around us. Around this core message we had mythical battles between man and beast, issues to be raised at parish council meetings, a hilarious and raucous midsummer forest fairy party and a lot of pie making shenanigans! The children acted their hearts out and special mention must go to Abi, playing the maker of pies and friend to the forest upon whom much of the story hung. She improvised her way through some potentially disruptive 'hiccups', staying in character and and adding wonderful depth to the play.
We consider ourselves to be incredibly fortunate to live at the foot of some of the most wonderful hills in the world, the UK's first designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the Quantocks. Much of West Somerset's wealth is in the environment and we hope to strengthen our pupil's appreciation and ownership of their locality. In an ever moving, ever transforming global society we feel that it's important to have roots and to value them. A play such as this allows the children to exercise their creative muscles, writing, acting and performing in a traditional tale with a contemporary message. A local story in a global context.
In the next Combe is Halsway Manor, home to a national treasure trove of folk song and lore. Crowcombe and Stogumber Schools carried the banner of the traditional tale aloft tonight. The legend of The Gurt Wurm lives on - well done to all of our pupils and may their roots grow deep!
nb. Halsway Manor is running a special story walks session on the Quantocks on Tuesday, August 28. These walks, on the hills themselves, will feature Clair Viner, storyteller, sharing traditional tales of the hills. Her tales were part of a project that we ran here at school a few years ago and they are quite enrapturing. Do treat yourself to a walk on the hills with her stories!