The Tempest: A Storm of Sound / Y Tymestl: Storom Sain
January - March 2016

Year 5/6 from Leighton Primary School rehearsing for The Tempest at The Hafren
Year 5/6 from Leighton Primary School rehearsing for The Tempest at The Hafren

Key Stage 2 music and theatre project

  • 12 music and song-writing workshops at 6 primary schools
  • 6 set design workshops at 2 primary schools
  • 6 performances attended by 1,300 children from 20 schools

“…we feel so enriched, staff and children by the whole experience …The impact on our learning across the curriculum is enormous!” (Teacher)

This was a new project devised by Mid Wales Music Trust and inspired by the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. The project was delivered in partnership with Sinfonia Cymru, and was a co-production with The Hafren, Theatr Brycheiniog and Wyeside Arts Centre.

We commissioned a new, abridged version of the story from writer/director Hazel Gould who together with musician Sam Glazer created an interactive one-hour show for younger audiences.

Song-writing workshops

“When you first came in I said to myself how are we going to make a song in a day and when we made the music it was amazing.” (pupil)

In the song-writing workshops the children used Caliban’s speech “Be not afear’d, the isle is full of noises…” (Act 3, scene 2) as a starting point for their own creative work, devising new songs by writing additional verses and setting the lyrics to music.

Here are Year 6 from Priory Church in Wales Primary School performing their song on stage at Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon:

Here's a whistlestop glimpse of our Tempest show, filmed live by Daniel Harris of AOTV at Theatr Brycheiniog on Monday 14 March 2016:

Stage-design workshops

“When I came off stage I was very pleased with myself because I did not think I could do it but I did.” (pupil)

Stage-design workshops were led by Hilary and Graham Roberts, and Year 5 & 6 classes created the sets for the final performances, including Prospero’s grotto, spell books, and tempestuous clouds.

The Tempest is the most musical of all Shakespeare’s plays and the show included settings of songs from the Tempest by Jonathan Dove and Thomas Arne, as well as live music for string quartet played by the Sinfonia Cymru musicians, including music by Ravel, Shostakovich, Schubert and Bartok.

What the children said

“When we showed the whole school our song I was nervous and I was shaking but when we were singing our song I was not shaking at all.” (pupil)

“As we were on the bus we were all singing our song and all the other songs. When we got to Theatr Hafren and walked in the excitement was jumping around inside our bodies because we will be on stage singing our song with some of my words.”

“I had so much fun watching the play.” (pupil)

Our supporters

Thanks to all the generous funders who made this project possible:

  • Arts Council of Wales
  • Colwinston Foundation
  • Foyle Trust
  • Gibbs Trust
  • Individual donors through the Mid Wales Music Trust
  • The Hafren
  • Theatr Brycheiniog
  • Wyeside Arts Centre