Taverham pupils take to the stage for musical premiere

Young performers have been taking to the stage for a musical premiere.

Pupils from Taverham Hall Preparatory School, near Norwich, starred in the new show Crusade which was written and composed by the school's director of music William Drew-Batty.

'Crusade is based on the true story of the first children's crusade in 1212. Over 30,000 French children were led on a crusade by a boy called, Stephen of Cloyes. This is a dark story but one that I have been intrigued about since I was a child,' said Mr Drew-Batty.

'Despite the rather sombre character of the story this is really an adventure. There are moments of humour and, because contemporary accounts of the outcome of the adventure are sparse, I have created a positive conclusion.

'The show is threaded with 10 original musical numbers which range from big ballads, energetic choruses and comedy ditties.'

About 30 pupils from years five to eight were in the cast and a number of other pupils helped out backstage.

Mr Drew-Batty said it was very exciting for him to have such a great response from the pupil cast and crew that put his show on for the first time Tuesday to Thursday last week.

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The show was directed by year four teacher and senior pastoral tutor Viv Foulkes-Arnold.

Crusade is the most recent of Mr Drew-Batty's works. Before entering the teaching profession 15 years ago he had premiered two operas at the Norwich Festival and collaborated with Terry Waite to write the orchestral and choral work Songs of Solitude which had its first performance in Norwich Cathedral in 1997.

Mr Drew-Batty continues to write smaller-scale pieces and many have been performed by Taverham Hall's Chapel Choir at the Royal Festival Hall and the Barbican.

He hopes other schools and youth drama groups will also perform Crusade in the future.

Is your school holding a special event? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email emma.knights@archant.co.uk