From Canvas to Screen – Year 7’s Roman Triumph

Suzanne Chinnock, Prep School’s Head of English and Drama, writes about the culmination of this exciting project, which Year 7 have been working on periodically for most of this year:

Inspired by Rubens’ ‘A Roman Triumph’, a film featuring Year 7 pupils was selected to appear in the National Gallery’s prestigious ‘Take One Picture’ exhibition. Filmed on location against the stunning backdrop of Stourhead, Wiltshire, the film features tableaux, physical theatre, dance and movement, seamlessly interwoven to show the characters in the painting, the burning torches and the sacrificial animals as depicted by Rubens.

On Tuesday 27th June, the pupils involved in the making of the film travelled to London to see it and other successful entries to the exhibition. There was great excitement and a definite hush as Clayesmore Prep School appeared on the screen, and there was a round of applause at the end! Other children’s responses included shadow work and a life-size baby elephant. The pupils enjoyed the variety of the exhibition very much indeed.

Having worked with the painting for months and having studied it in so much depth, standing before the original in the National Gallery was a truly special moment. To mark it, the pupils formed their tableaux. Just for a moment amidst the hush of the gallery, it was as if the priest, the dancing maidens, the torch-lighters and the animal handlers had stepped from Rubens’ canvas into the gallery. It is a moment the pupils will never forget.

Afterwards, it was off to Byron’s Burger for a celebratory lunch, before heading back to Dorset. This trip marks the remarkable success of the pupils concerned, and all are to be congratulated on their commitment and creativity.