The Nutcracker Suite and how to WOW the audience!

At Christmas time it’s traditional the the early years pupils of a primary school (ages 4 -6) put on some form of play. There are a few hundred different ones from which to choose with some schools sticking with a more ‘traditional’ nativity to those who lean towards the more avant-garde.

The Nutcracker is one that is well known, well loved, and crops up from time to time with the story of the Sugar Plum Fairy often taken from a Children’s book derived from the original.

However, with the possibility of 60 small children involved and 60 sets of people in the audience who all want to see their little one centre stage in a key role, how to keep to time and make sure everyone has a part to play?

The large projector in the hall, an iPad, an app, a huge section of green cloth and lots of patience is how.

The Early Years teachers at Abington Vale Primary decided to ‘tech up’ this years performance and literally immerse their pupils into the story by using green screening and the DoInk app. Using pictures from a supporting text pupils were given sections of dialogue to read and were filmed in their classroom with the large green backdrop.

Once this had been recorded directly into the DoInk app the children could be positioned on the relevant background to match their part of the story. At first, understandably. the pupils were a little confused as to why they were ‘standing on a giant green sheet‘ and then even more confused when they saw what was behind them on the ‘magic iPad’…

The reaction from the audience when, without warning, a 7ft tall 5 year old appeared on the projector screen standing inside the magical and imaginary world of the Nutcracker was clearly audible and continued to delight throughout the performance.

The feedback from the teachers was this activity inspired the pupils imaginations, they talked of travelling to a magical place and want to know where else they can go.

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