We’re really pleased to announce the launch of our latest project – a Burlesque schools tour. Inspired by Shirley Temple’s 1932 screen debut in the Baby Burlesks pictures – Finger in the Pie will be creating a cabaret and burlesque show to tour UK Schools in the new year. Artistic director Alexander Parsonage commented – “In a climate where funding cuts are a part of every day life for the arts it’s increasingly important that we engage with a younger audience. It’s always been important for Finger in the Pie to include an element of eduction in our program – Burlesque for Schools will give us the opportunity to take our work to a new generation – creating the foundation of a sustainable outreach program for Finger in the Pie.”
The new project will of course cause a certain amount of eyebrow raising – but Artistic Director Alexander Parsonage believes: “programming a burlesque revue for school children is no different than programming for any other audience. Certainly there are going to be certain acts who simply wouldn’t be appropriate – but considering the amount of sexualised imagery that children are exposed to on the internet and in advertising – I think it’s important that we show them that the naked human form comes in a variety of shapes and sizes which can be used for humour, social commentary and art – as well as just selling stuff they don’t need. Watching the average prime time ad break is far more damaging for children’s awareness of gender issues than anything I could put on stage.”
As well as performances for schools we will also be offering schools workshops designed to give the children an introduction to performing in burlesque. The structure of the workshop is intended to fit within the Key Stage 1 Drama Dance and Movement:
- We are learning to develop rhythm and pace through movement.
- We are learning to use sign, symbol and metaphor.
- We are learning to participate in whole class movement.
- We are learning about movement by working with a partner.
- We are learning to develop an understanding of various heights through movement.
- We are learning to explore a range of movements, using music as a stimulus.
- We are learning to explore a fairy tale through movement.
Considering the potentially controversial nature of the tour we have been shocked by the positive reaction we have received so far. We are currently in talks with several Free Schools and independently run Academies to establish regular revue shows with some of the older students.
These could provide a much needed revenue stream for schools facing increasing financial pressure. Mr James Laye, headmaster of the prestigious St Vitus Pax Arts Academy in Bolton commented “One of the difficult challenges we face in the modern education industry, is how to fully monitories the talent we have within our organisation. This provides us with an opportunity not only to develop our pupils but to fully harness their creativity and enthusiasm for the benefit of the business as a whole.”
We hope that these partnerships will help schools keep performance on the curriculum. Michael Gove decided that creative subjects would be left out of his flagship English Baccalaureate it has become increasingly difficult for schools to argue for their inclusion within the school timetable. It is hoped that showing a clear revenue stream for schools, from training the pupils in performance, will make it easier for Heads to argue for the retention of the performing arts, as core curriculum, when negotiating with the school’s shareholders.
If you would be interested in booking Finger in the Pie’s School’s Burlesque show for your school or college – or would like to book one of our Burlesque schools workshops please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We are also keen to hear from teachers who would be interested in working with us to develop additional workshops to address other key curriculum topics through burlesque, these might include: identity, sexual education, citizenship and religious studies. If you’d be interested please do drop us a line.