This primary assembly has a theatrical theme, using the phenomenon that is ‘High School Musical’ to explore the enjoyment of live theatre and celebrating differencesResources

It will be useful to have access to this web page:

  • Songs and clips of the film, or a workshop to mix your own video clips using a choice of music, stills and graphics, are available from the High School Musical website.

Introduction

Every single person in this school has different abilities: things that make you special and individual. I’d even go so far to say that:

Everyone is special in their own way We make each other strong We’re not the same

We’re different in a good way.

How many of you recognised those words, I wonder? [Take suggestions or repeat the lyrics]

That’s right. These are some of the lyrics from the song ‘We’re all in this together’ from ‘High School Musical’. Who can give us a quick reminder of the plot? [Take suggestions – some children will know it so well that you could encourage them to act out a short scene]

I’m sure lots of you have seen the film. Some lucky people might even have seen it on the stage in a theatre, too, because the ‘High School Musical’ production is now travelling around the country going to different theatres.

We’re very lucky in this country to have such a rich theatre tradition, which goes back many hundreds of years. Shakespeare’s plays are still being performed 400 years after he died. I wonder if ‘High School Musical’ will still be popular in the year 2408? Let’s take a vote on it. [Have vote] Well, of course, we can’t prove it today, one way or another.

In London, our capital city, there are literally hundreds of different plays, ballets, operas, jazz concerts, rock bands, comedians and musicals to see every night of the week. And it’s not just London, either. All around Britain there are live performances of every description, being performed every day.

Seeing people perform on the stage is very different from watching people on TV or at the cinema. It’s much more real. And, of course, in live theatre, things can go wrong, too. More importantly, every show is a little bit different. It’s said that when we go into a theatre or somewhere there’s a live performance, we go in as individuals, but come out as a community. What do you think that means? [Take suggestions]

Has anyone been to a theatre? What was it like? [Take suggestions]

Why do you think people might want to go and see ‘High School Musical’ on the stage, even though they’ve seen the film a dozen times? [Take suggestions]


The story of ‘High School Musical’

‘High School Musical’ began life as a TV film two years ago. Its popularity has taken everyone by surprise – even the people who made it! Why do you think it’s so popular? [Take suggestions] Actually, the idea for ‘High School Musical’ has been around for a lot longer than you might think: about 413 years, to be exact! That’s right. The plot of ‘High School Musical’ is based on Shakespeare’s play ‘Romeo and Juliet’. Romeo is part of one important family, just like Troy is a member of the Wildcats basketball team; Juliet is part of another important family who doesn’t like Romeo’s family, just like Gabriella being on the science team who don’t like basketball players.

Conclusion

I don’t suppose Shakespeare invented the story either. People like to be friends in groups, and sometimes one group doesn’t like another, which is sad. ‘Romeo and Juliet’ has a very sad ending so it’s great that ‘High School Musical’ has a happy ending and finishes with a song where everyone joins in: ‘We’re all in this together’. In our school we celebrate everyone’s different interests and abilities and we believe it’s important to respect the things other people are interested in. In the words of the song, “our dreams have no limitations”.

Prayer

Dear Father, Thank you for the gift of music whether we sing, play instruments, dance or listen to music. We pray today for all the artists and performers who train and work so hard to entertain us on TV, in films and at the theatre. Amen.

Reflection

It’s hard work as an actor and singer to get up to the level of Vanessa Hudgens (Gabriella) or Zac Efron (Troy). These young actors may have trained for years to be able to play those parts in a film. But then again, maybe they just had a lucky break!

Further information

  • The UK High School Musical theatre website with booking dates around the country. You can also download an education pack from here.
  • ‘High School Musical 2’ was first broadcast in August 2007 and ‘High School Musical 3: Senior Year’ will be released in October this year. There are plans for HSM4 which is being written now

This e-bulletin issue was first published in July 2008

About the author: Jane West is an ex-teacher, education journalist and children’s writer.

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