Once upon a Time in Tooting
7 July 2016
Oily Cart Theatre Company is celebrating 35 years in 2016 under the artistic direction of Tim Webb, alongside Head of Design Claire de Loon and Musical Director Max Reinhardt. For 20 of those years, the company has been based in an annexe at Smallwood Primary School in Tooting, Wandsworth. To celebrate those joint anniversaries, Oily Cart is working with children and staff at Smallwood School to create an exciting cross-curricular project, ONCE UPON A TIME IN TOOTING. The project culminates in a site-specific performance at the school and a parade around surrounding streets on Wednesday, 13 July (if the weather is dry) or on Thursday, 14 July if it rains.
The project involves the different year groups undertaking indepth studies of historical periods which figure in the history of Tooting but are also in accordance with the national curriculum. They are variously looking at Tooting in the Stone Age, The Middle Ages, the Elizabethan era, the Victorian era, World War II and the Blitz, and the 1970s when Tooting became truly international in its character. Over the summer term, Oily Cart’s Visual and Drama practitioners will work with children and teachers to create costumes, props and a scenario for each historical period, bringing each era to life in a living museum. Oily Cart’s musicians will lead a scratch band of children and parents on the day of the parade. The project leaders are Elizabeth Lynch (Drama Director) and Holly Murray (Designer). Both practitioners worked with Oily Cart and Smallwood Primary School on a previous collaboration in 2012 for an Olympic themed event: THE GALACTIC GAMES.
Specific projects led by Elizabeth and Holly include:
Year 1: Stone Age A large scale map of the River Wandle featuring life in a late Stone Age settlement animated with hunters, animals and cave paintings.
Year 2: Middle Ages : Tooting manors are mentioned in the 11th Century Domesday Book and these classes will show life in the village and life in the manor, the serfs and the knights.
Year 3: Elizabethan era Queen Elizabeth I visited Tooting in 1603 when an avenue of oak trees was planted in her honour on Tooting Common. The children will bring to life the glory of Queen Elizabeth I – the Armada, her love of theatre and the glamour of her court.
Year 4: Mid-Victorian era The children will animate the dreadful conditions in the notorious workhouse run by Mr Drouet near Tooting Broadway, which was the model for Dickens’ Oliver Twist.
Year 5: World War II The classes will look at London during the Blitz and the evacuation of children to safer parts of the country, - what they packed for their journeys, the mixed experiences and feelings.
Year 6: 1970s During the 1970s the population became much more cosmopolitan as people started to arrive from all over the world to live and work in the area, influencing the food and goods sold in local markets. These classes will evoke the era through the music enjoyed by the children’s grandparents when they were young.
These creative workshops are backed up by themed lessons led by Smallwood Primary School teachers plus interactive workshops at Fulham Palace Museum, involving dressing up in period costumes, viewing archive material and handling historic artefacts.
9:45am - 10:30am: Costumed parade through the local streets including Hazelhurst Estate, St. George's etc. with a live percussion band.
11:00am-12.15pm: Promenade Performance. Parents, families and members of the local community will be guided in groups of 25 around the animated museum that tells the story of Once Upon a Time in Tooting. Each of the seven year groups will bring to life the history of Tooting through the ages, both real and imagined!