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School children go wild for safari theatre show at USW

Hundreds of local school children enjoyed an African adventure at the University of South Wales (USW) last week as Drama students performed a safari themed theatre show.

Pupils from schools across Cardiff and Caerphilly came to USW’s Cardiff Campus to watch Beautiful Creatures, an action-packed show aimed at 4 to 7-year-olds, based on popular children’s songs from South Africa.

Performed by first-year BA (Hons) Theatre and Drama students, the show told the story of Imvubu the hippo, Lucas the lion, Rita the cheetah, Roddy the rhino and many more animals through lively songs, which encouraged the audience to join in the actions while learning how safari creatures live alongside each other.

Beautiful Creatures was directed by Michael Carklin, Senior Lecturer in Drama, co-directed by Nigel Long, Lecturer in Drama, with musical direction by Rob Smith, Senior Lecturer in Music and Performing Arts. A true collaborative effort, the show’s live music was played by Music staff and students, with the technical aspects taken care of by Sound, Lighting and Live Event Technology students.

Ewan Smith, 19, from Garndiffaith in Torfaen, thoroughly enjoyed being in the cast of Beautiful Creatures. He said: “I hadn’t had much experience performing for school children, but rehearsing for this show was absolutely brilliant. There was always a lively atmosphere and every single one of the cast, backstage team and tech team have had a great time working together.

“Having had this opportunity during my first year is so important, as it has allowed us to experience working on a theatre production and get a taste of what to expect in the industry. I have also enjoyed collaborating with students from other courses on this fantastic project.”

Belle Jennings, 18, from Pontardawe in Swansea, played the role of Rita the cheetah. She added: “I have performed in a few pantomimes with school children in the audience, so I had an idea of how important it is to entertain them – young people are the toughest crowd around, so we had to give our all!

“Beautiful Creatures has been such a fun, creative experience, and a great module to start my first year of university. We’ve been able to use our imagination with writing, costumes, choreography and character development, which has given me amazing opportunities.

“It’s such an engaging, playful piece of theatre and to see the children enjoying our performances and having fun was a fantastic feeling.”