Concord Students Raise Hopes For Lasting Future Peace

Concord College

A Celebration of Peace: Dance and Drama from around the World

Theatre Severn

17 November 2018

Concord…..Meaning “Hearts Together.” (Miriam Webster)

There are still some Salopians who don’t know about the fantastic work that takes place every day in the little village of Acton Burnell. Concord College is a school that, since 1949, when it was built in the sprit of the new found world peace, has been bringing students together from countries all over the world to learn about  peace with their neighbours. However not only did they propogate peace but  they engendered a sense of peace leading to lasting harmony. Let’s face it we all need a bit of that so, excellent sentiment.. Now some 69 years later Concord has fulfilled their wish and are currently opening  their doors to children from 44 countries. Some of these countries have known recent conflicts., countries like Thailand, Korea, Vietnam , Hong Kong, China, Kazakhstan to name a few.

So what a clever idea to get these students together on one stage and get them to share with the audience what their take was on peace, what it means and how it can be achieved.

If you are the sort of reader that can’t wait to the bottom of the artile before you get the verdict, I will tell you know this was a slick, professional and wonderfully put together moments of Theatricality. This was no ordinary School Show, with respect to School Shows, but this was something extra, something of the higher shelf.

Working in their respective country groups the students weaved a delightful and sometimes enchanting path to the idea of how world peace could be achieved. We are such a funny species. The glaring irony of the future generations singing about peace and achieving it, and yet the whole of humanity seems intent on trouble. We have never lived in such an unstable time, well at least not for some years. So not only can we call for peace, we can at the same time, create war. What a paradox we are.

However one thing one could not doubt was the commitment and sincerity of every performer. Why can’t we get the ones that want peace to run the world and those that want to fight send out to colonise Mars or something where they can fight to their hearts content. Why don’t we really? I don’t know any warmongers personally and I imagine you don’t either, however still we fight. The message from all the performers tonight was that Peace isn’t just a birth-right but it can be sustained through an era of love and understanding.

There was a fascinating combination of styles throughout the show. So we had traditional dance moves like Bhangra and Eastern Oriental, but juxta posed with ideas from a brand new world. One believes there was even a little bit of Khabuki theatre on stage which is a great, garish and thoroughly exciting theatre from the Eastern Countries like Indonesia and Thailand. Wonderful, colourful fast and exciting are just some of the superlatives one could roll out in praise of this wonderful fusion, this coming together of style and era was beautifully done. One realises there had been a tremendous amount of work from the off as they explored what it is to live in peace in the 21st Century world.

The work that had been put in was staggering and having, myself, worked in a school as a Drama teacher one is aware of just how much timetable jiggling, extra-curricular, and week-ends is necassary to pull off a project of such proportions. One can only imagine rehearsal time was full of noise flair and definite creativity.

The performers themselves were great. They could sing, play, act and dance. They found pathos and beauty in equal measure. The finger tips of the girls in the oriental dancing  was just so delicate and elegant.  A show in a school setting can’t grow to be so good without some extraordinary creative and magical people both behind the scenes and on stage. The coming together of these attributes, genius directional flare and pure talent is a winning formula and Concord teachers and students  came together with sacks full of ability. Just like the notes in some of the beautiful music they played, they all fitted in brilliantly.

This is a slick and polished show, well-conceived, devised and planned. The coming together with the technical language, the lighting and sound plan  was also well designed and executed. 

The beautiful dancing and singing of the students made us realise two things at least,. This show is a wonderful shop window for Concord but secondly, and most importantly…at least some of the younger generations from Countries that have been war ravaged for years, have turned around and said, they are the future and they will ensure the world moves forward in peace. All that one can reply to that is, whilst its ideally simplistic, you students and children now and the future are our only hope and if you give up believing, where will we be?

This show was designed to make one reflect on the behaviour of our forebears and our responsibilities today.  These children are our future and if they don’t believe in a peaceful tomorrow we have no hope. This show is also designed to make one think  and it really did that. Not only have we seen a Concord of children from a multi national backdrop, but we have also seen Concord between the students and the teachers.. Well done everybody. This reviewer shed a tear or two at some of the more poignant moments for a show to achieve that  it must have something very special. 

This is a Four Star Review

Owen J.Lewis

 

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet. Follow hos blogspot at https://owenscribblerlewis.blogspot.com

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