National Centre for Early Music

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Musical Play in a Week 2017

Acting, making music and listening to thrilling stories from the past, a fun week of fun and creativity.

Took place from Monday 14 - Friday 18 August 2017 from 10am to 4pm daily 

A highlight of the NCEM Learning and Participation programme was the annual Musical Play in a Week Summer School, which has been running since 2001 providing opportunities for young people, aged 9-15, to collaborate with early music specialists and theatre professionals, to put on a historically-informed play combining acting, instrumental music and singing. Young people met daily to develop and rehearse the production and the project culminates in a performance for family, friends and invited guests on the final evening.

In the summer of 1516, a group of Flemish musicians arrives at the English court bearing lavish gifts, including a manuscript of wonderful new music, richly decorated in honour of Henry VIII and Queen Catherine. The singers of the Chapel Royal are overcome with excitement but it soon becomes clear that there is more to these guests than meets the eye. Is their mission, as they maintain, simply to partake in the friendly exchange of musical ideas, or does it have an alternative purpose? Henry's young musicians quickly find themselves drawn into a shady underworld of international espionage. Who can they really trust? Could the very safety of the realm be at stake?

The Musical Play in a Week was aimed at 9 - 15 year olds, with no previous experience required, just enthusiasm and commitment. The sessions took place at the National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret's Church, Walmgate, York from 10.00am - 4.00pm, finishing with a performance for friends and family on Friday 18 August at 7.00pm.

Past Summer School performers and their families have described the week as:
  • A really fun, confidence-building experience.
  • Entertaining to the highest degree!
  • Chance to bring together a great story with music from the times.
  • The most fun, with loads of new people to meet and really kind and knowledgeable leaders.
  • The best week of the Summer holidays!