GSA give 186 SEND guests Shrek-tacular musical experience

Steve Porter

On the 28th March 2019 GSA welcomed 186 Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) guests to participate in a dynamic Shrek-themed singing workshop before attending a performance of Shrek the Musical by GSA final year BA Musical Theatre students.

This collaboration between GSA and Surrey Arts SEND Department united individuals from a range of Surrey schools, local community choirs and singing groups, aged between 9 and 70 years old.

The upbeat workshop saw SEND visitors work in groups alongside Shrek cast members and musical director Michael Cotton to learn some of their favourite musical numbers from the show, including I'm a Believer

GSA’s Head of Musical Theatre Julian Woolford explained: "We were delighted to team up with Surrey Arts SEND Department and welcome so many enthusiastic local singers to GSA. Our students, who are performing their final show prior to launching their professional careers, welcomed the opportunity to work with members of the community and share their own skills and talents. 

Shrek proved to be a marvellous vehicle for this kind of workshop; the story and characters are widely recognised and the musical’s message about inclusivity made it the perfect fit.”

Alison Wrigley from Surrey Arts said: “It was wonderful to see so many SEND visitors involved in GSA’s singing workshop and how much they enjoyed their theatre trip to Shrek the Musical.  It was a great experience for these Surrey-based young people and adults who all already enjoy singing. 

“Through the leadership of experts at GSA, the group had fun developing their singing and performance skills, raising self-esteem and building confidence as they sang songs from the show. Bringing together such a wide age range allowed younger attendees to recognise that singing is a skill for life, presenting opportunities for friendships that help create a sense of belonging.”

Photo credit: Steve Porter