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Pupils at two schools in South Woodford and East Ham make up children’s ensemble nominated for top theatre award

PUBLISHED: 16:51 10 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:04 10 March 2020

The children's ensemble, made up of pupils from Churchfields Junior School in South Woodford and Brampton Primary School in East Ham, on stage with other members of the cast of Noye's Fludde at Theatre Royal Stratford East.  Picture: Marc Brenner

The children's ensemble, made up of pupils from Churchfields Junior School in South Woodford and Brampton Primary School in East Ham, on stage with other members of the cast of Noye's Fludde at Theatre Royal Stratford East. Picture: Marc Brenner

Marc Brenner

A children’s ensemble made up of pupils at two schools in South Woodford and East Ham has been nominated for a prestigious stage award.

Youngsters from Churchfields Junior School and Brampton Primary School sang in Noye's Fludde, which was produced by the English National Opera (ENO) in collaboration with Theatre Royal Stratford East.

Now the ensemble is up for the outstanding achievement in opera gong at the Olivier Awards, which celebrate the best of theatre in the UK.

A total of 60 children from the two schools performed during the show's run, a new production of Benjamin Britten's composition, which took place in July.

They played the parts of the animals of the ark and Rhuti Carr, who worked with the children when she was producer at ENO Baylis, said they had a 'crucial role' in the production.

She added: 'The nomination feels like an amazing achievement with the rehearsals and work that went in.

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'It was a real collaborative effort so it is lovely to be recognised.

'It is just about really making sure that these young people who did not normally come to the opera are left with an interest in coming to the opera.'

Rebecca Emeny, headteacher of Churchfields Junior, in South Woodford, said the opportunity for the children to perform alongside the ENO was 'transformative'.

'The experience helped open minds. It exposed children, parents and staff to a culture and art form that previously they had not felt was accessible. What was particularly great to see was how the children's confidence and presentation skills were clearly enhanced by their involvement in this masterpiece.'

The children, which spanned years two to five, spent months practising for the show, according to Brampton head Kevin Reid.

He described the nomination announcement as a 'big surprise', adding: 'The children worked so, so hard in the build-up over a number of months and they were absolutely amazing.

'It was a real highlight of the last year. They have shone.'

The children's ensemble is up against two other nominees and will find out if they have won during the awards ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall next month.

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