Instead of collective worship, our headteacher had a real treat for the children in store: A miming workshop telling the story of the smugglers in Sussex – all accompanied by a trio of woodwind instruments.
Not surreal enough for you? Well, to listen we all had to take our shoes and socks off. The children had to wear black masks. And no one was allowed to utter a word!
On top of this, the clarinet-oboe-and-bassoon trio was drowning out the naration. So I still have absolutely no idea what smugglers in Sussex were up to 250 years ago. And contrary to the group’s claim that the children knew all the places mentioned in the story – like Pagham, Hastings, Horsham – the children of our school would be much more likely to recognise Disneyworld, Legoland or Chessington!
In two groups the children learnt to mime several scenes from the tale until everything was put together. Some 7 year old barmaids, pulling pints for smoking smugglers, 10 year old jailors learning to accept bribes, and amongst the normal children some of strict baptist families who abhor anything to do with pretence let alone debauchery or smugglers’ ghosts!!!!!!
The children thoroughly enjoyed the workshop, listening mesmerised to the music and smugglers’ tale and asking inquisitive questions about the instruments. I could once again hardly believe my luck at the thought of getting paid for such an experience!