Bury Libraries hosted its first ever theatre production on Thursday 26th May in the Memorial Hall, Longfield Suite, Prestwich. This was a six week family community project of reading, drama, theatre and dancing skills. Children and their parents took part in the performance of Stories from the Arabian Nights and also helped with making scenery, props and costumes. The project was developed to encourage family activities in which everyone takes part and for everyone involved to share their skills and learn new ones. Rehearsals took place over a six week period for an hour a week with the grand performance taking place in the evening of the final week.
The main story we chose for this performance was Aladdin which is the most well known story from the Arabian Nights.The show was directed by Assistant Librarian Jean Swanson and Reader Development Librarian Claire Smith-Baco.
Jean played the part of the narrator on the night of the performance and Claire played the part of Scheherazade who told the stories from the original Arabian Nights. Claire choreographed the dance routines and Jean made the costumes. We also produced our own tickets and programmes for the event. Ten year old Bethany Munshall did an excellent job in playing the part of Aladdin and memorized all of her lines. Bethany’s mum played the part of Widow Twanky (Aladdin’s mum), Evelyn stubbs played the princess, Mr Ellison was the evil Uncle Abanazer and the Sultan was played by Jean’s husband Mike Swanson. Also, the golden lamp was played by Caterina Ellison, the genie of the ring was played by Shawetha Maidu and the genie of the lamp was played by Anya Ellison. The rest of our cast played the parts of the market sellers and took part in the group dances. These parts were played by Alexandra Baron, Donya Aghdam, Emma Lonsdale, Evelyn Weller and Anya Ellison. Both children and parents who took part in this wonderful performance worked extremely hard in memorizing their lines, familiarizing themselves with the stories and perfecting the dance routines.
The show was a huge success. Sixty people came to watch the show and everybody told us at the end how much they enjoyed the performance. Some of the families who came to watch the show asked if they could take part next time if we ever put on a performance again. We also donated £25.00 from the ticket price and refreshments sale to the Mayor’s charity.
As the show was so successful we are planning to put on another performance of Stories from the Arabian Nights at Ramsbottom Library in the summer holidays. Look out for advertisements on Bury Libraries e-zine, social media and library reader blog if you are interested in taking part in our next grand performance!
Claire (Reader Development Team)