The Stevenson connection to East Lothian has received a welcome boost from some of its young people.
Musselburgh is one of its biggest towns, and its Roman Catholic primary school, Lorretto, staged two performances of a musical version of ‘Treasure Island’. Supported by the Charades Theatre Company, who specialize in helping schools to create this style of event, 100 primary pupils of all levels of ability staged the show. It was great fun and hugely appreciated by an enthusiastic audience. Particularly memorable was their performance of the castaways, dressed in a hybrid of grass skirts and palm tree branches, who gave a rendition of ‘bring cheese’ to a very catchy rhythmical tune.
A few days later around 150 pupils from P5-P7 primary classes from all across East Lothian, including North Berwick, came together for a different show. They enthusiastically sang versions of three Stevenson poems: I will make you brooches and toys for your delight, his reworking of the Skye Boat Song Bring me a song of a Lad that is gone, and Where go the boats? The last of these was set to music by Howard Blake, perhaps better known by his score for The Snowman film. Where go the Boats? is one of the numbers from his musical and animated film The Land of Counterpane based upon a number of poems from A Child’s Garden of Verses.
It was wonderful to see so many young people enjoying Stevenson. Both shows were created by the enthusiastic team at Youth Music Initiative of East Lothian Council who also told each audience a little about the story of Robert Louis Stevenson, in this the 125th anniversary of the year of his death. The funding for the shows was supported by Creative Scotland.