Hampstead pupils get ready for stage debut in Hedgehog’s Home Children’s Opera

Youngsters at a Hampstead school are preparing to make their theatrical debut in a new children’s opera.

Year 5 pupils from Fitzjohn’s Primary School have been rehearsing for the performances at Conway Hall, in Holborn, on November 9 and 11.

The opera, starring three professional adult performers, has been adapted from Hedgehog’s Home, a Croatian children’s book written by Branko Copic and published last year.

It follows the story of Hedgemond the Hunter, a hedgehog who tends to his beloved home down in the wild woods, much to the bemusement of the grumpy bear and the greedy boar.

As Hedgemond manages to prove to his peers that there is no place like home, the prevailing theme – the importance of home – becomes clear.

Istros Books, the publisher of Hedgehog’s Home, has commissioned the book’s stage adaptation after translating it into English.

The opera’s creative director Elinor Moran, 32, has been leading rehearsals with children at the school in Fitzjohn’s Avenue in the lead-up to this week’s performances.

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She said: “This kind of musical drama education is huge and far-reaching. Music is so good for mathematics and literacy.

“You also get confidence-building and the teachers get to see things from children they wouldn’t necessarily see in a classroom situation. I also think it’s great that these children are going to get to work with three professional performers.

“It’s great music and very, very funny and we are keen to work with other schools in the area.”

Rob Earrey, headteacher, said: “Pupils have thoroughly enjoyed the process of rehearsing and performing Hedgehog’s Home.

“The experience of working with professional actors and musicians has been unique and memorable. It has sparked interest and enthusiasm in the creative process.

“It will be an experience that the students will remember fondly.”

To buy tickets for Hedgehog’s Home Children’s Opera, visit www.istrosbooks.com.