A group of New Malden primary pupils has walked off with a string of acting awards, helped on its way by Kingston University's Students' Union. Sets designed by The Mount Primary School for its rendition of The Wind in the Willows stole the show when the budding stars took to the stage at the Kingston Festival of the Performing Arts.
The school's arts and social development officer, Caroline Gupta, said the success was all the more special because the pupils had feared a lack of funding might put paid to their dreams of designing a spectacular set. They hadn't banked on the Students' Union coming to the rescue though. It wasted no time getting the project back on track, stumping up cash for materials and organising volunteers to get the art work under way. The union teamed up with pupils aged between nine and 11 to paint individual scenes, later pieced together to form an eye-catching backdrop.
Fine art student Rosie Emerson said the project had been rewarding for everyone involved. "I think it's really important to encourage children with their creativity," she said. "The pupils at The Mount were great fun to work with and really keen to get stuck in. "We were also able to talk to them about the university and all the exciting design courses on offer if they ever decided they wanted to take their artistic talents further."
The Students' Union is keen to continue working with schools in the region and membership services manager Kate Robinson hopes an increasing number of student volunteers will get involved in community activities.
"The success of The Wind in the Willows project has set a great platform for us to build on," she said.