Students rework Canterbury Tales

"TIME and tide waits for no man."In the spirit of Geoffrey Chaucer's famous proverb, pupils have created a high-octane re-working of the poet's Canterbury Tales in just five days.

"TIME and tide waits for no man."

In the spirit of Geoffrey Chaucer's famous proverb, pupils have created a high-octane re-working of the poet's Canterbury Tales in just five days.

The members of the Suffolk Youth Theatre (SYT) summer school were given the task of devising and rehearsing four of Chaucer's stories for their show at Northgate Arts Centre.

The 13 to 18 year olds created the acting, dance and music for the Pardoner's Tale, the Merchant's Tale, the Nun's Priest's Tale and the Wife of Bath's Tale for the one-off performance.

Jos Leeder, Suffolk County Council's drama advisor, said: "I think that it must be one of the quickest ways of turning an idea into a performance.

"After all, nobody has any idea what the performance will look like on Monday morning. There is no script, just the four Chaucer stories that we have selected and an intention to turn them into a show."

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For the one-off performance, called "A Case of Chaucer", each pupil brought a suitcase to use in various ways.

Mr Leeder said: "They were an obvious symbol of the Chaucerian characters' journey, but they also became the bars of a prison, a boat, walls, trees, a cave and all manner of other things.

"I am full of admiration for their energy, their talent and their tenacity. At the end of it all they were tired but elated and many of them said they are already looking forward to next year."

The project takes place during the first week of the summer holidays and is the brainchild of Suffolk County Council's education provision, which aims to continue the development of arts and drama outside the school curriculum.

Mr Leeder said: "They acquire knowledge of performance conventions and an understanding of how to communicate with an audience in order to make it meaningful for them.

"Working together helps to foster problem-solving skills and, of course, they make many friends."

The 55 schoolchildren were helped by ex-SYT member Ed Cobbold, who won Best Actor and Best Devised performance at this year's National Student Drama Festival.

As a result, he has been invited to perform his play Tapped at the Edinburgh Festival later this month.

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