French Puppet Theatre Visits Saint Kentigern

June 10, 2014 at 7:45 AM

The Carrousel Theatre, a puppetry company that originated in Paris but is now Melbourne-based, paid two visits this week, firstly to perform at the College followed by a second performance at the Boys’ School.

Their show, ‘La Belle au Bois Dormant’ (Sleeping Beauty) is especially crafted for school students who are learning a new language and intended to inspire them through the medium of puppetry. In this instance, the language was French but their shows are also adapted for Italian, German, Spanish and Indonesian.

Before the show at the Boys’ School, a group of Year 8 girls and boys from the College came across to take part in a cross-campus activity with small groups of Year 2 & 3 boys. This aimed to familiarise the younger boys with the characters in the show, to learn names and some of the key vocabulary prior to watching the performance – as well as have fun playing a card game together!

There was much excitement and giggling as the two sets of students settled in to work together. It was great to see our Language Departments join for a collaborative event and for the boys to have the opportunity to work with the older, more experienced students from the College.

The College students were amazed at how confident the younger boys were conversing in French, having been encouraged to give all their answers in full French sentences! The Junior School is now in its second year of the AIM (Accelerated Integrated Methodology) Language Learning Programme.

This is a verb based, oral language programme which means rather than reliance on word lists of nouns, the children are given a story context for their learning. Through storytelling, the children are quickly drawn into the activity, making sense of what is happening, building their own versions, listening, telling, retelling, talking about, reflecting upon and ultimately responding.

Our College students learnt that the Junior School French classroom is a noisy, active place as the boys go about their new language acquisition – there is no question that both sets of students thoroughly enjoyed the experience!

The students went on to enjoy the traditional Brothers Grimm fairy tale told through the art of highly detailed, classical hand puppets. ‘La piece commence en Francais! Tout le monde regardez and ecoutez!’ And so the four act play got underway, partly in French with repetition in English to set the scene - and true to form, the princess pricked her finger on the thorn of the black rose went to sleep for a lifetime, only to be awoken by a prince. ‘Je suis le prince Rodolfo, je suis venu vous sauver!’

The boys and girls were encouraged to join in, answering questions from the puppets and eventually joining in the song, ‘Princess Sophie a disparu.’

As with most fairy tales, the ending was a happy one; a happy ending to a happy day for both the Boys’ School and the College students!



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