Doubt, glimpses and theater: added value of cultural education

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VEGHEL | It’s a sunny Monday morning when group 3 children from ‘t Ven primary school in Veghel get ready for Radio Walvis, a performance by the South Dutch Philharmonic and the theater companies Schippers & VanGucht. This performance, based on an Inuit fairy tale, teaches children about the plastic soup, classical music and Greenland, ‘where it does not get dark in the summer’. The connection between the school and the creators was created by Cultuurkade Meierijstad, which also offered the schools a complete teaching package around the performance.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” says a six-year-old boy in the queue. “Because there is music involved. And I’m excited too, because I do not know what’s going to happen. ”As he speaks, his eyes twinkle expectantly. Prior to the performance, the children in this group have already participated in three lessons that were part of the performance. Afterwards, a fourth lesson follows, in which the students reflect on the performance. “The teaching material is very layered,” says the teacher in this class. “For example, they will work with waste, which makes them more aware of how we treat our planet. But we also listened to pieces of music and played things. One then sees that another side of children is being addressed. Some children, who usually stay more in the background, dare to show off more and prove to be very creative. I believe that addressing the other side of a child is a great added value of cultural education. Moreover, this is a performance that parents will not soon go to with their children. That is also the added value of such a school performance. ”

Other than ‘The Lion King’
That parents may not be going down there with their children soon also applies to the performance De Kantelaar, also by Schippers & VanGucht. This abrasive performance for students in 7th and 8th grade takes place in a dark room and is about the girl Eva, who one day tells her parents that she wants to stay in her room. From there, she looks without outside influence on what is important and indifferent. It is a performance that strongly challenges students to form their own opinion.
“I really want to listen in your head for a moment, because sometimes we just can’t understand what the other person is thinking,” Eva says at one point.
She also tells a violent story where the students themselves have to decide if two women are guilty of murder. It surprises, confronts and makes you think. “This is a little different from The Lion King,” says one of the students afterwards. “It was very special and special. Some things are so intense you just have to see them. Or listen. ” “I recognize myself in Eva,” says another girl. “The things she doubts, I often doubt that too. It really makes you think. “

Personal doubt
The performance De Kantelaar was opened by a workshop where the students, among other things, shared their own personal doubts. “We will definitely discuss this further,” said the teacher from group 8 at the De Kienehoef primary school in Sint-Oedenrode. “For example, I’m excited to see if the kids now understand what the title refers to.”
And the teacher in group 7, who was also present: “I hope they take into account that it is okay to doubt. And that it is often good what you choose. ”

‘I hope they remove that it’s okay to doubt’

life wisdom
Back to Radio Walvis in Veghel. The children are now fully occupied with the adventures of the Inuit girl Pilus. On the children’s faces one sees doubt when Pilu doubts, sadness as her grandfather (who has become a dog) dies and wonder when the live music from cello, bass clarinet and flute fills the room. Sometimes they sit with their mouths open, sometimes they scream, sometimes they move to the music.
Some seem to take it all in. And that’s great, because the play is also full of life wisdom. Pilu: “So you never know in advance if a day will become important.” The children in the front row stare at her and nod. That’s how it is.

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