The fate of the ship of dreams that became the ship of nightmares was told, sung and danced by the children of Bookwell School to packed houses in Egremont Market Hall nearly a hundred years after its tragic sinking on April 15th 1912.
The imagination of all the Key Stage 2 children had clearly been engaged by their studies of RMS Titanic throughout the term, and whole families had become involved in the project, producing enchanting costumes for the crew and the entire social range of passengers, from the aristocratic to those who tried to escape poverty in Ireland by boarding the vessel at Queenstown, dreaming of a voyage to a land of freedom and opportunity. The social contrast between the crew, sometimes day-dreaming of a night in a luxurious cabin with a good-looking posh young lady, and the classy passengers they were serving, clearly meant something important to the children.
Lively dancers conveyed many contrasting emotions, from the gay abandon of the Charleston to the fatal collision with the iceberg, and the passionate voices of the singers expressed the warning that Mother Nature’s in control and the teror of abandoning the opulent ship for the icy waters of the Atlantic. The whole performance enhanced Bookwell’s reputation for the excellence of its musical education and rishly deserved the standing ovation at the end. Local set builder Jonny Smith also helped to transport the imagination of cast and audience by creating scenery that converted from the shipyard to the deck of Titanic and finally to an open sea where the audience witnesses the sinking of the ship from a packed lifeboat. Perhaps it deserved a stage that would allow the whole audience to see all the children and the voices of the speakers, particularly, needed the aid of microphones to bring the words acroos with sufficient clarity.
Headteacher Christopher Ashcroft said “The children have been engrossed in the work on Titanic and the level of factual knowledge that they have accumulated is amazing. The performances of “Ship of Dreams” has been a fantastic culmination to all their hard work. The end of the musical covers the fact that the sinking was a real incident, so the children understand that the story was a real tragedy involving real people.” Educational Musicals waived the performance licence fee for the production as the school is donating all proceeds from ticket sales to St Bees RNLI. Mr Ashcroft said, “We felt that it was only right that on the 100th anniversary of the tragedy that we donated the money from the sale of tickets to the RNLI who work so hard throughout the year to help those in trouble at sea.”