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What would you do - speaking to a teacher...

(12 Posts)
Honeymum Mon 29-Nov-10 21:32:29

For a while now DD1, age 9. has been excited about the planned school production (due to take place in the Spring term). She has always been keen on the idea of performing but isn't a typical show-off type - she's quite quiet at school. However, she'll have a go at anything, to the point where she played a (short) violin solo in front of the whole school in a talent show. Anyhow, no information came from school about the auditions, and it turned out that they took place today, with no warning for parents or indeed, the children. DD1 was slightly late for lunch as the teacher asked her to do an errand, then was slightly later than the other kids for the audition (which took place at lunchtime), after bolting her lunch. She felt that she wasn't given much time to "show what I could do". She was told what to read (not the part she wanted - as opposed to everyone reading the same audition piece), and the girl who read the main part, was awarded that part.

DD felt that everything had already been decided prior to the audition. She was also not surprised that the girl who got the main part is the same girl who usually has the main role in assemblies etc, and is "best at everything and always picked for everything". Two issues here - would you complain about the management of the audition process and ensuing devastation that could have been avoided if DD felt that she'd had a fair crack at the whip? And would you say anything at all about the school selecting the girl-who-is-best-at-everything, yet again, for the starring role? I am concerned that my DD, and the other kids, is beginning to feel that life is unfair, and that's not how I want her to feel at just 9 years old.

carocaro Mon 29-Nov-10 21:58:12

Just have a quiet word with the teacher, I think these things are headaches for teachers so take an easy option eg: the stronger/in yer face ones.

As for the audition process it sounds rushed and not worth complaining about, it was what it was.

If they know that your DD is super keen and wants to work hard, it might change things some how, be an understudy, get more invovled in the production side, be a teachers help, you see what I mean.

Just a nice chat with the teacher I am sure would be ideal.

On another note is there a local little theatre company nearby or dance and drama classes that she could do?

carocaro Mon 29-Nov-10 21:59:17

Oh and say nothing about the girl being best at everything, no point whipping up a hornets nest, not the girls fault.

Honeymum Mon 29-Nov-10 22:13:40

Thank you - good advice. We are going to try to find a drama group for her. I'll put it to her in the morning that we might ask if there's anything else she could do. She is very sensitive and feels what she sees as injustice very keenly. I'm going to try to encourage her to try to talk to her teacher too.

cory Tue 30-Nov-10 08:46:17

If she wants to get into drama, she seriously needs to get over this idea of justice/injustice. This is what it is like for anyone who gets into drama. My dd has serious ambitions this way, and one of the best things that drama group has done for her is to teach her to accept that you audition and don't get the part you think you should get, you audition again and some other idiot gets it, you get up and try again.

Dd never had a speaking part in any school production until she was nearly 14- and then she got a starring role in the Shakespeare Festival production (which I have to say she did very well). But she has learnt lots from going to drama group and taking small speaking parts- again, never a starring role, but always trying to do what she does as well as she can. I don't know if she has the talent to go to "big" drama school, but I do think she is developing the right attitude to cope if she can get in. In the meantime she is having a wonderful time at drama group.

I would strongly second drama group. A nice inclusive one. It is much better than school natitivities.

hotcrossbunny Tue 30-Nov-10 08:52:09

Would probably not talk to the teacher/make a fuss myself. But is there a comments box or anything, where you could suggest a more organised approach next year with fair warning?

We had a similar experience at dd's new Junior school. It turns out that you can audition, not get a part, and then not be in the production at allshock What happened to inclusiveness??? I didn't imagine she'd get a main part, but can't understand why there isn't a choir/dance troop or something for those who want to perform... Even dressing up and selling programmes. There is no incentive for parents to go to the Christmas play eithersad We're looking for an out-of-school drama group instead...

esmeroo Wed 01-Dec-10 16:48:25

Hi, had something similar myself. School production soon. The children had to audition for the acting parts. My daughter wanted one of the solo singing parts, not many children put their name down. Every day one of the teacher's has said the singing auditions will be on the following day. Daughter been told that the four solo parts have been given out. No one auditioned! What a surprise, one of the solo singers is daughter of the choir teacher, other child's mom is on the PTA and a dinner lady, the other two's parents also do a lot for the school.

Daughter quite upset. She'll now be in choir at the very back where they are not seen. I'm tempted to say something to her teacher but she doesn't want me to.

I feel quite pathetic at how annoyed I am.

EvilTwinsAteRudolph Wed 01-Dec-10 22:11:58

Speaking as the Head of Performing Arts at a secondary school, I can tell you that auditioning for, and mouting, a whole school production is a hell of a lot of work. We sorted out parts for our school play last week, and the evening I put the cast list up, I had emails from 3 students complaining that they had not got a bit enough part. Unfortunatley, that's just the way it goes - not everyone can play the lead. You need to trust that the teachers have made the right decision. It's a minefield for those in charge - you are torn between keeping the kids happy, trying to be seen as "fair" and also casting the production in order to make sure tht the final product is the best it can be.

As cory said - this idea of injustice is one she needs to get over - it's everywhere in the theatre industry - from the am dram companies who won't cast a newcomer to a lead role, to the West End (a dear friend of mine auditioned for Les Mis a few years back - got through three rounds of auditions to be told at her last one that she's too tall. She was still the same height as she was at her first, second and third audition...)

OP - if you call the school to complain, what result would you like to get? Are you wanting your DD to be given a different part? In which case, what about the child who'd been cast in that part already? The audition process sounds very much like any school play audition process - it has to be fitted into a lunchtime, and TBH, kids have to get themselves to the audition at the right time - simce we did our auditions, I've had several students tell me they didn't realise the auditions were on, or they forgot to turn up or whatever, and I've had to tell them sorry, too late.

If she's keen, get her to join a drama group, but it's worth reminding her, if that drama group does productions, that there's no guarantee the parts will be allocated "fairly" there either.

Sorry she's feeling down about it though- definitely worth pointing out that she's bound to have fun in the production no matter what part she's got.

PixieOnaLeaf Wed 01-Dec-10 22:48:16

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pointydog Wed 01-Dec-10 23:01:50

I wouldn't do anyhting. That's life.

Well, I'd have a chat with my daughter, that's what I'd do.

Honeymum Fri 03-Dec-10 11:09:50

Thanks for all of your posts. We had a good chat and I asked the teacher to speak to DD about her disappointment. I'm still a bit cross that the process wasn't better handled - I think that DD would have been much happier for a start. It would have been helpful to know when the auditions were going to be in advance if only to say "good luck" beforehand. And it wasn't her fault she was late - the teacher asked her to do something for her. I wasn't trying to get a better/bigger part for DD - just to make her feel a bit more positive about it all which I hope I've achieved by asking the teacher to speak to her. On the other hand I do feel quite strongly that at least at primary level that teachers should avoid selecting the same kids over and over, no matter how talented, particularly if they are good at academic stuff too. I've spoken to my sister (a teacher) about this at length. Anyway, onwards and upwards. Thank you.

PixieOnaLeaf Fri 03-Dec-10 17:33:11

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