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Munro and the Mysterious and Magical Mountains

07 April 2021

Karen Dunbar
Wicked Whangie

The young people and staff were excited about performing, producing, directing and acting in their very own Pantomime.

When Jaqui McAlpine, our Creative Consultant got to writing the Pantomime, she had originally written it as a live performance, no one ever imagined that physical distancing and wearing masks would still be a thing come November 2020. However, not even a Pandemic was enough to stop the Pantomime from going ahead. We have a green screen in our Media Classroom, and this allowed us to film scenes with the actors acting to the green screen individually just like in the blockbuster movies, and edit scenes to make it look like the actors were right beside one another. Everyone really put in a huge effort to make this work and make it the best Pantomime it could be under really difficult circumstances.

Our Media Teacher, Hazel worked with the young people to direct and film all the scenes, she commented, “I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity of bringing this amazing Panto together within the School environment. Working collectively as a small group, our teaching and care staff did a tremendous job of bringing the characters to life. Being able to work closely with our pupils made this more special and every day they took ownership of their role and enjoyed the process of filming, using technical equipment, acting, reading the script and getting involved in drama”.

The Pantomime is called ‘Munro and the Mysterious and Magical Mountains’, it is a contemporary pantomime loosely based around the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

The hero Munro has a life-changing experience after a brief encounter with the Evil Whangie. Opportunities arise, Munro discovers new interests and talents. Munro develops essential skills for life while navigating through his three challenges. All the time having fun and laughter with his friends. Like all heroes Munro goes on a journey of discovery. He pushes personal boundaries, makes new friends, improves his self-esteem and builds self-confidence. Munro demonstrates resilience, problem-solving, team-working, communication and drive.

Like all Good Christmas shows there are goodies, baddies, songs, dancing and physical comedy and even Karen Dunbar, ‘oh yes she was’, we were delighted when Karen agreed to feature in the Panto.

Jaqui McAlpine, Creative Consultant, said

“This is the first panto I've ever written. I took my inspiration from the pantos I saw as a child starring Ricki Fulton and Jimmy Logan. They were always great fun, had a bit of drama and great music to sing along to. I hope I've done my job and made it funny".

The Pantomime was first shown at our Christmas Party in December for all staff and young people to enjoy. We thought that this was such an inspirational piece of work that everyone should have the chance to see it. Two of the young people commented,

“I played the lead male character. I thought it was brilliant (‘heavy wicked’) and enjoyed being able to act a bit silly. I learned about the recording processes”.

‘It was good, would’ve been better if we weren’t having to socially distance and we could just be together. I played Noggle Boggle and Scream.

Kenny Collins, Head of Education said about the project,

“From the moment we read Jaqui’s incredible script, we knew that this was going to be something special. We had always wanted this to be a live performance but its testament to the creativity, positivity, amazing skills and sheer determination of everyone involved that we were able to turn this into a film.

There were times when we thought we had bitten off more than we could chew, not realising the enormity of what a project like this would entail, but we remained calm, and committed to creating an experience that all of our staff and Young People could enjoy and celebrate together.

The final product is just magical and there were many of us who got a bit teary when we watched the full performance for the first time.

For many of the young people involved, this was their first experience of drama and performance and we recognised the quality of their achievements (and their bravery and patience) in immersing themselves in a full month of production at our Celebrating Success event in December”.