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My DD1 has just found out that that she has the only non-speaking part in the Year 6 play

(27 Posts)
Marmitelover55 Tue 18-Jun-13 16:47:43

My DD1 has been looking forward to finding out what part she has in this years Year 6 play, but today found out that she has the only non-speaking part and is very, very upset.

She is quite a quiet and hard working girl, but loves drama and has been in the local drama group's pantomime for the last 4 years.

For the school play, they were allowed to choose whether they wanted to audition for a large, medium or small part, and DD1 chose to audition for a medium/large one and also wanted to audition for singing as well. She never did a singing audition (they seemed to forget about her), but thought her speaking audition went quite well.

Last year when they did Shakespeare in Year 5, she had a small part with 3 lines (she was the Nurse in a scene from Romeo and Juliet and was very good in my totally unbiased opinion) and the class were told that those with smaller parts would get the larger ones in year 6. Unfortunately both of the year 5 teachers have left and it seems that the year 6 teachers weren't aware of this.

I had a quick chat with the other year 6 teacher and she said that they would write in a line for her, but she is very angry/upset and doesn't want to take part in it at all. It is one of the highlights of the year for the children and the next month will be spent on rehearsing. All of the other parts have been allocated.

I am not sure what to do. I have told DD1 that in the big scheme of things it is not very important, but that I understand she is very upset now. Has any one got any advice please? I wasn't sure where to post this, so have posted in the education section as well.

dianettey Tue 18-Jun-13 17:01:52

Your poor dd.

Why on earth would they have done this?

spanieleyes Tue 18-Jun-13 17:05:44

Do you mean there are, say, 30 in the class and 29 speaking parts. If so, that is a rather unusual play for schools! Are ALL the rest of the children speaking?

Marmitelover55 Tue 18-Jun-13 17:15:26

Thank you for your comments. There are 57 in the year, 56 speaking parts and one part who just mimes a line - my poor DD sad

I don't know why they have done this. It seems as though some children wanted small parts (my DD wanted medium) and they have bigger parts than her.

I am going to try and speak to her teacher tomorrow and find out why. I suspect she has just been forgotten about - she is the kind who wouldn't usually make a fuss about anything (nor me). But this time I'm going to, although I can't see what difference it will make as all parts have been allocated.

That's so sad sad How the hell did anyone think it was acceptable to single out/forget anyone in such a big event? Not right at all. Definitely talks to the teachers (like you're going to do).

Marmitelover55 Tue 18-Jun-13 18:12:36

Thank you - DD1 just told me she feels like a nobody sad

Mrsrobertduvall Tue 18-Jun-13 18:17:16

That's not on.
Go and have a quiet word.

i have to say, the magickeycanfuckoff. Has to be the best name on here at the moment. Dd and I have roared.

Startail Tue 18-Jun-13 18:21:28

A quiet, very firm word, with the teacher.

Feeling part of the whole being a year six experience is really important to many DCs and they look forward to it for ages, it's not just another end of year show.

tiggytape Tue 18-Jun-13 18:28:12

That is really upsetting for her and I totally see your point.

Fair enough if a child auditions and doesn't get what they'd hoped for but the school have set two very high expectations:

1. The rule that Year 5 get the small parts and Year 6 get the bigger parts. In Year 5 the children knew this and looked forward to their turn of having a decent part (if they wanted one) and now that rule is ignored just as their turn rolls around.

2. Letting children determine which size part they audition for is a bad idea unless there is some hope of matching up the requests and the parts. If the teacher is going to base it solely on talent / number of places available then they should have a straight forward audition process without any veiled promise that it might lead to a part of a certain size if the child asks for that.

Of course it will be horribly disappointing after such a big build up and the whole select-your-own-part audition process. I'm not sure what can be done though apart from adding in some lines for her. In a way, the damage is done by being the only one not chosen and I would stress this to the teacher.

Marmitelover55 Tue 18-Jun-13 18:30:28

I will try to have a firm word with the teacher tomorrow, although I am not good at being assertive). DD1 has been looking forward to it for ages.

The Magic key books were my favourite biff and chip books...

AuntieStella Tue 18-Jun-13 18:30:47

Oh dear. It's a shame when promises from one year don't get honoured going forward.

And very, very crap to have only one non-speaking part. Unless they know they have to accommodate a pupil who really does not want or cannot speak on stage, they really should have spotted the problem with having only one left aside like that.

tiggytape Tue 18-Jun-13 18:34:08

Marmite - just make sure you tell the teacher exactly what DD said about how it made her feel. You don't have to go in all guns blazing to make the point - I guarantee her teacher will be mortified when she realises that DD has been overlooked despite asking for a bigger part and to know how upset she is about it.

Marmitelover55 Tue 18-Jun-13 18:37:54

Thank you tiggytape. The year 5 play was/is separate to the year 6 one, but they were told that if they had a small part in the year 5 play, they would get a bigger part in the year 6 one.

Yes I agree about setting expectations with choosing part sizes. If there had been just one audition based on talent, I would have tried to manage her expectations. I didn't do this as knew she would be happy with any medium sized part.

Thanks for putting this so succinctly - I will try and put it like this tomorrow.

FannyMcNally Tue 18-Jun-13 19:03:18

Poor dd! This was a mistake - they wouldn't leave just one child without a speaking part, she was obviously overlooked. I would explain everything to the teacher, emphasising her disappointment, especially as she does drama and how she has been looking forward to this. I wonder if she could be the understudy for the main parts? Prompter? Lighting/backstage/scene shifter? All important jobs. Not the same I know but could be done as well as the gratuitous one line.

I remember dd2's year 6 production was suddenly opened up to all years and the main parts were given to the lower years and the year 6s were sidelined into the choir. At their own leaving production! <bitter>

I remember something similar happened to me at primary school, and I still remember how upset I felt sad

so I agree with the other posters that you should speak to the school on your dd's behalf.

fallenempires Wed 19-Jun-13 12:54:43

OP I feel your pain as we are faced with an identical situation with DD in fact it's been ongoing since YR R.
It's always the same girl who is given the leading role whether it be a play,assembly or a church service.
This child's parent works in school and she has been known to have major melt-downs if she doesn't get her own way!
Sadly it has reached the point now where all the other dcs just quietly accept it, realising that it's pointless in auditioning or putting themselves forward for anything.
DD is rightly upset and I am upset on her behalf but I decided not to pursue it with school as I don't wish to appear as a pushy parent,our school has more than enough of those already!
Hopefully our DD's will be treated more fairly at secondary schoolsmile

Marmitelover55 Wed 19-Jun-13 13:09:30

Hello - quick update - I went into school today and first bumped into the head who took me to see her class teacher. He has been away for a few days, but basically I said how disappointed she is and how it will be a massive dent to her confidence. I made the points that tiggytape suggested but I'm afraid I was in tears by this stage.

He said that there has been a mistake and he will do his best to sort it out. He told me that they had already written some extra scenes, as there weren't enough roles. He said that it is very unusual for every child who has been allocated a part to actually end up doing it, so there may be an opportunity to change. He said that he hoped they could do better than just give her one line...

Then he brought DD1 in to appologise. He is not sure what they will do but will let me know.

On the way out I bumped into the head who invited me into her office for a coffee and a chat. She was lovely and said she will keep an eye on things, so I am hopeful that things will be resolved some how. She gave me a hug and a kiss and told me that she realised it must be important, as I have never been into her office before.

Thanks everyone - fingers crossed things will be sorted somehow.

LadyEnglefield Wed 19-Jun-13 13:31:31

What a lovely HT - so glad that everything is being sorted out. It must have been heartbreaking for you and your DD.

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Wed 19-Jun-13 13:31:55

So disappointing for your daughter - but how reassuring that teachers in the school have listened and are taking it seriously AND are prepared to apologise for a mistake. Not every school does that.

I hope your daughter will soon feel better about it. Well done to you for standing up for her.

When I first saw your post I was prepared to say "she'll just have to swallow her disappointment" until I realised just what had happened!

Fingers crossed for a result you can all be reasonably happy with.

tiggytape Wed 19-Jun-13 13:33:42

That's great news and what a lovely HT you have.

ilovechocbuttons Wed 19-Jun-13 14:01:55

That is really good news.

At DD's year 6 leavers performance not everyone got a chance to audition, they "ran out of time"!! Sadly there were a number of children who wanted to be part of the play but could not be. They were put in the choir.

Interestingly though certain children did not audition but were given good parts. Schools can be very unfair.

Luckily my younger DD is very shy so is not interested in joining in with these things which is lucky, as she will not have to suffer the disappointment and unfairness.

Marmitelover55 Wed 19-Jun-13 16:20:05

They discovered that when they typed up the script, that they had missed out her 2 lines, so they have corrected that and also made her into a director as well. Hopefully she may still get a bigger part, but she seems very happy with her new responsibilities smile

That's great that they sorted it all out an your dd should be really proud of how strong she was through it all. Your HT sounds nice and friendly too.

Startail Thu 20-Jun-13 11:36:45

grin it's nice they 'sorted it'

DD2 had her heart set on being narrator in the Y2 play (she saw it as automatic reward for being the best reader) the teacher very kindly split the narration an into an extra part.
I never have told her I asked.

Marmitelover55 Thu 27-Jun-13 16:04:56

Another update - just thought I'd let you know that DD1 now has quite a big part as the boy playing "Raptor" has decided he wants a small part after all. She now has 35 lines, is in 3 scenes and has a solo rap to perform grin Thanks for all of your support and suggestions.

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