My 11 year old daughter Bunny, is soon to be in her very first secondary school production!
She absolutely LOVED acting in primary school. Actually scrap that. She absolutely LOVED any kind of performance. Whether it was gymnastics in the school talent show, speaking in an assembly, dancing or even singing in a school play. She always auditioned for the bigger parts and she made me so emotional when she sang her solo in her final primary school play.
I was never in any of my own secondary school productions and I kind of think that if I went back to secondary school now (not that I’d want to… hell no!), that’s one thing I would do second time around. So it goes without saying, that I found it quite exciting, when Bunny told me that she has signed up for the school production of CATS. She was OVER-THE-MOON-EXCITED as she had been given not just one, but numerous different parts to rehearse. She has a speaking (morelike chanting) part. She has a gymnastics part, she has a chorus part, and she’s been allocated a specific “CAT”. I’ve been ordered to buy tickets to go and watch. Chats about her costume keep evolving. Rehearsals have been getting longer and longer.
A few weeks ago, I had picked her up from rehearsal early. She was sat in reception in tears and told us she’d been kicked out of rehearsal. I’d emailed the teacher producing the show and she’d assured me that nobody had kicked her out. It later emerged that Bunny had been told to leave, by some other children, who were really nasty about it. I emailed again and the problem was supposedly resolved.
Two weeks later, I found out from her teacher that she was skipping production rehearsals and hadn’t been for a fortnight. It was news to me – I’d been picking her up from school at 6pm! Having already marched into school and demanded to speak to her tutor about some of her own bad behaviour, I decided to change tack for this one. So I took her out, just me and her. Nowhere exciting, just a couple of shops – this wasn’t a reward, it was just me and her time. I got upset. I cried in front of her. I couldn’t believe she had been lying to me about her whereabouts, about CATS, about what she was doing until 6pm and about a few other school things too. It felt horrible.
After a long chat, which started with “dunno” type answers, we eventually got some conversation and some answers. It turns out… those girls hadn’t left her alone. Those girls were so nasty to her at rehearsals, that she stopped going and hid in a computer room at school, rather than telling anyone. So all the time I’d been picking her up late from school, thinking she was rehearsing and actually she was hiding from the mean girls. She was ashamed to tell me as I’d bought a ticket to watch.
So once we’d had our little heart-to-heart, I told Bunny that that is NOT the way to deal with bullies. And that actually snitches DON’T get stitches! That we can’t deal with these problems if we don’t know about them and she can’t let mean girls control her life for the next five years!
The next day, she found the courage to report those girls. And I wrote to the teacher producing the play to explain what had happened. She wrote back, offering Bunny all of her parts back to her, on the condition she makes every rehearsal from now on. Bunny came home full of beans, back to her happy self and presented me with a printed out rehearsal schedule. She’s now rehearsing until 6pm every day and missing some lessons and assemblies for rehearsals. In fact, this production is being taken so seriously, that she has to be at school 9-5 for rehearsals on SUNDAY!
Bunny’s excitement and enthusiasm is back. The mean girls are being nice to her. She’s been given even more scenes and she’s been coming home with new additions to her costume every day. She’s had her clothes spray-painted. She came home with a collar and braces earlier in the week. Yesterday she came home with ears and today she even got her tail stuffed!
I’m so pleased to see her enjoying it again and that she’s no longer going to let other people stand in the way of what she wants. I literally CANNOT WAIT to see her perform on that stage now. The more excited she gets, the more excited I get!
Oh… but I’m on strict orders not to post any photos of her costume until after the school production… it’s a secret!