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Red carpet treatment

PUBLISHED: 14:32 16 July 2008 | UPDATED: 10:24 07 July 2010

It started off as a classroom story-writing project and gradually developed into a film which was given the red-carpet treatment.

And the world premiere of the thriller Melissa Airways almost became a royal premiere after the Queen was invited to attend.

It started off as a classroom story-writing project and gradually developed into a film which was given the red-carpet treatment.

And the world premiere of the thriller Melissa Airways almost became a royal premiere after the Queen was invited to attend.

Although Her Majesty replied, through her Lady-in-Waiting and declined the invite, she said she greatly appreciated the pupils' thoughtfulness.

In the letter, on Buckingham Palace headed note paper, the Queen said she was interested to hear how hard they had worked on the production and hoped they have a happy evening.

Teacher Titus Cotton felt that it did not seem enough to just mark the pupils' story-writing work so the idea for a premiere emerged and once decided it really fired the children's imaginations.

And while it was not quite the Oscars, the film premiere at Sculthorpe Primary school, near Fakenham, had all the trappings of a real screen premiere with the obligatory red carpet, popcorn, and the cast dressed in their most glamorous and glitzy outfits. Even Mr Cotton made a big effort by wearing a smart evening suit and white shirt.

Even some of the parents dressed for the occasion in their evening finery and proudly lined the red carpet route into the auditorium (created within the school hall and specially lit) as their offspring strutted their stuff before the world's press (well, actually EDP staff photographer, Paul Hewitt) and happily signed autographs.

As the time for the screening of their seven-minute film drew near, there was an air of excited anticipation in the night air with the young stars embracing one another with kisses on both cheeks amid cries of “oh darling, how lovely to see you”.

Mr Cotton spoke enthusiastically about the project that reflected many of the school's curriculum disciplines, including literacy, IT, numeracy, art and social inter-active skills.

The script was written from a story by 11-year-old Georgina Rouse and the action takes place on a plane and involves a hi-jack, deaths but has a happy ending.

The children took it all very seriously, even to the extent of checking British board of Film Censors guidelines to ensure it was a PG (parental guidance) film.

As part of a problem-solving day for the younger pupils they researched the type of food that would be popular at a premiere and came up with Ribena, Lucozade, sausages and chocolate!

Many of the parents felt that it had been a wonderful project for the children to be involved in and it had really caught their imaginations.

“This has been a first for Sculthorpe school and the children have been really excited about it and it has been a great learning process for them reflecting subjects they study in the classroom,” said Mr Cotton.

Family and friends of the school will have a permanent souvenir of the film because it is being copied onto discs.

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