Students from Ariel’s Burgess Hill and Crawley Academies paid homage to First World War veterans, teaming up with the Royal British Legion to produce memorable and moving annual showcases.
Each drama academy held their own annual showcase at the Hawth Theatre, providing the children with an opportunity to show their talents in dance, drama and song.
A First World War theme ran through both shows in recognition of the 100 years that have passed since the start of the First World War.
The Crawley academy opened with a piece based on the 1914 Christmas truce where soldiers forgot their differences, sung carols and played football.
This was performed beautifully by students as they depicted with sensitivity this moment of peace and humanity, amid the violence of war.
This was followed by two drama pieces – one called the ‘White Feather’ and one based on the John McCrae poem ‘In Flanders Field’.
The Burgess Hill students started their showcase with evocative poems and recollections of the outbreak of war.
This was followed by a full cast rendition of ‘We’re Going To The Country’ as the children acted out the lives of kids who were evacuated from the cities.
Representatives from the Royal British Legion also took to the stage to deliver moving poems and words in homage to the soldiers who fought in the First World War.
An upbeat medley of war classics followed, including: ‘It’s A Long Way To Tipperary’, ‘Keep The Home Fires Burning’ and ‘There’ll Be Bluebirds Over The White Cliffs of Dover’, providing a rousing memorial, which was sung by the students, who ranged from five to 19 years old.
An emotive point in the shows took place where red poppies floated down from the ceiling of the Hawth to be swept away by members of the British Legion.
Poppies were sold at both shows, and over £200 was raised for the British Legion’s Poppy Appeal, which supports past and present members of the British Armed Forces.
Homages to the First World War also featured in the East Grinstead Academy showcase and will be part of Steyning’s December show.
For more information on Ariel’s academies in Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath, Crawley, East Grinstead or Steyning or for a free trial visit www.arielct.co.uk. For more information on the British Legion Poppy Appeal : www.britishlegion.org.uk.