Child Focus Foundation’s Jitterbugs theatre group recently performed their own rendition of “The Little Mermaid” on Saba. The performance was showcased on five nights and each night was sold out to an audience of 90 people.
The new version of the play was the brainchild of director Jackie Daley, who moved to Saba in 2015. She started volunteering for Child Focus early last year and soon after filled the position of instructor and coordinator of the arts programme.
Preparations for the play began in September 2016, when registration opened and a group of 21 children were registered to take part in theatre. Daley created her own rendition of the script and soon each child was assigned a character that suited their personality and sense of humour.
In this original version of the script, Ariel seeks to transform from a mermaid to a human not to meet Prince Eric but, instead to attend Seaside University.
Her father King Triton played by Jacques Heemskerk, forbids her to leave his kingdom as he is weary of the dangers she could face on land. When she overhears the dean of Seaside University mention a scholarship contest, she takes a great risk making a deal with the sea witch to see if she could get legs and win the competition.
The story is about a girl who is growing up and a father who has to accept that she wants to follow her own dreams, although they are different than the ones that he saw fit for her.
In order to prepare for this production, theatre practice took place twice a week, where children were divided into groups and coached on specific scenes, songs or dances.
With the assistance of five volunteers, the children received the guidance and individual attention they needed.
Theatre training allows children to step out of their comfort zone and realize that it is okay for them to make mistakes and learn from them in rehearsal. This process gives children the confidence to perform in front of a large audience.
It also serves as a creative outlet as the children were encouraged to come up with their own ideas of how their character speaks and moves.
The artistic vision of the play was a result of a collaboration of many individuals who came together to create an array of colourful sea creatures, coral structures and mermaid costumes. Lighting and programming were designed and engineered by volunteer Adam Watkins.
The Daily Herald.