Far from the battle fields of World war 1, Year 5 set off to Truro to watch Private Peaceful at the Hall for Cornwall. Having thoroughly enjoyed reading the book in class, pupils were eager to see how it would be adapted for the stage.
The stage was set with a soldier sitting on a camp bed, listening to his watch. We all knew who it was – Tommo, the main character in the book and the sole actor in the play, taking on the role of different characters to retell the whole story. What talent and what a memory!
“I was expecting there to be lots of characters but the one actor who told the story had an amazing ability for storytelling. Extraordinary!”
“I can’t believe he remembered all those lines throughout the whole play!”
“He made me believe he was a child, then an adult and then a child again.”
“I was a bit confused at the end but then I realised he hadn’t mixed up the story but changed the ending for the stage.”
During Guided English for the last six weeks we have been studying Private Peaceful, taking time to not only read the story but also to explore its characters, settings and themes in detail. Seeing it performed on stage was the highlight of our learning and we will now be busy unpicking the play back in class as we compare and contrast the book and the play. This will be the perfect gateway for Year 5’s learning next autumn, when the whole school will be learning about World War 1.
We had a great day out, learning that books can be adapted in different ways. It was the first time any of us had seen a one man production and we were all in awe of the skill it takes to take on this type of acting role. We would like to say a huge thank you to the John Thaw Foundation for making this day possible through their generous donation, which paid for the whole experience. It is a day we will all remember and one that we will continue to learn from over the coming weeks.