National Centre for Early Music

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The Sun King and the Busker 2015

24 young people, aged 10-15, took part in the 2015 Musical Play in a Week Summer School, enjoying opportunities to collaborate with early music specialists and theatre professionals, to put on a historically-informed play in an intensive five-day rehearsal period.

This year's play The Sun King and the Busker told the story of baroque composer and instrumentalist Jean-Baptiste Lully and the favour he enjoyed with King Louis XIV of France. Written by the NCEM's Education Consultant Cathryn Dew, the plot followed Lully from his humble beginnings through his rise to fame (and the intrigue, rivalry and jealousy that accompanied it). As everything within the play was based on historical fact, young people had plenty of chance to learn about an interesting period of French history and an important figure in the early music world.

All participants enjoyed taking part (saying they "loved every minute" and "didn't want it to come to and end") but, for one 15-year-old this was a particularly special occasion. Hannah Moore attended for the final time this year and, having taken part in every play since 2008, achieved the status of 'longest-attending NCEM Summer School participant'. Of her time with the project, she said: "It has been amazing - working so hard and learning so much and best of all making friendships that will last even when I'm not still coming to the Summer School. I'm really sad it's my last one but I've had a great time."

Musical Play in a Week attracts young people from York and the surrounding area and we are increasingly working to widen engagement for those not always able to access high-quality arts activity, in particular those from disadvantaged backgrounds or with special educational needs. This year, generous support from the Rotary Club of York Vikings and the Sylvia and Colin Shepherd Charitable Trust enabled bursaries to be offered to young people requiring additional support.

Images from Musical Play in a Week 2015 can be viewed below: