Introducing children to literature at an early age is the only way I know to inspire them so that this will become a life long love. When young, children’s tales quite often come in the form of fables, fairy tales and rhyme, I remember reading tales to my daughter and found that if they rhymed they were easier to remember and we could take turns reciting the verse. As she got older she became more confident and could take more of the tale/poem on for her herself, one of my fondest memories is her reciting from heart a poem by Spike Milligan (Ning Nang Nong), which she could do long before she could confidently read it. This brings me to the reason for this post, last year Istros Books published Branko Copic’s children’s tale “Hedgehog’s Home” (Jezeva Kucica), it is a tale written as one long poem and follows Hedgemund the Hunter, who is a brave and stubborn hedgehog. This is a bit about the book
Welcome to the world of Hedgemond the Hunter, a brave and stubborn little hedgehog. Down in the wild woods he proudly tends his beloved house, but there are some animals who just can’t understand what the fuss is about! Find out just how Hedgemond proves to the grumpy bear and the greedy boar that there truly is no place like home. Hedgehog’s House is a story about caring for your natural habitat. Set in the unspoilt environment of the forest, we find the wild creatures arguing about what home means: is it simply a place we should take for granted, or is it something to be cherished and protected? Despite the persuasions of charming Miss Fox and the jeers of the angry wolf, Hedgemond steadfastly proves that his home is his castle, reminding us all that we each need to care for the places we live.
This poetic children's tale will have instant appeal to children through the strong characterisation of the animals involved and through the natural rhythm of the narrative, allowing it to be perfectly suited for adaptation into a musical format. This was accomplished by Pianist and arranger, Emily Leather, in cooperation with the Creative Director and award-winning soprano Elinor Moran from Operalicious. Hedgehog’s Home was created as an outreach project, intended to benefit the local children of Camden (London) and to this end the children of year 5 (10 years old) from Fitzjohn’s primary school in Hampstead will be involved during the Autumn term 2012.
Members of the production team will be visiting the school, presenting the idea to the class and working with the class and music teachers on the songs for the show. Children would therefore be able to take part in singing and percussion accompaniment to the professional musicians and singers on the stage. There will also be scope for the children to be involved in stage and costume design, with the input of the Creative Director.
It is hoped that this project will be a creative work which, once written and produced, can be taken up by schools, children’s groups and amateur operatic societies and reproduced. It will add to the cannon of children’s opera a story about the importance of caring for one’s home and environment and for standing up for one’s beliefs and defending what one holds dear.
Buy tickets for the UK premiere of Hedgehog's Home Children's Opera
Live at the Conway Hall this November!
Dates for performances of the show:
Friday 9th November 2012 – two performances a.m. at 12:00 and 2:00pm
Sunday 11th November 2012 – matinee performance at 2:00 pm
This is not just a fantastic project, but one that will help inspire a love of the written word, not just for the children involved but also all those who go and see it, hopefully yours will be amongst them.