YOUNG WRITERS COMPETITION
A trio of top actors took time out from appearing in a major stage production to read stories written by a village school’s budding young authors.
Hilary Maclean, Matt Jessop and Emma Denly, who were all appearing at Mold’s Theatr Clwyd in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, visited Gwernymynydd Primary School and enthralled children by reading their stories as part of a school writing competition.
It was all part of a contest for pupils sponsored by ASH Group Limited who are filling in and restoring the village’s Cambrian Quarry.
John Dennan, an ASH Group director and governor of the school, put up three prizes of family tickets to this summer’s Theatr Clwyd’s children’s performance of ‘How to be a Kid’ which runs from June 24 until July 22, as prizes for the competition.
Head teacher Louise Williams says pupils really enjoyed writing their stories and were thrilled to have professional actors come into school to read them in front of pupils and the three judges who had the incredibly tough task of deciding the three prize winners.
She said: “We always knew our children were excellent writers but their stories were absolutely superb and we could easily have had 20 or even 30 winners.
“The actors were absolutely fantastic and delivered the stories adding plenty of drama, it’s an experience out children will always remember. I’m so grateful to Theatr Clwyd and the cast members of The Importance of Being Earnest for their efforts.
“It wasn’t a case of just reading the stories out loud. The written work was delivered to them a week in advance and they had clearly worked hard and rehearsed the stories adding lots of drama to their performance.”
She added: “To make it absolutely fair the stories were read anonymously so our three judges had no idea who had written each story.
“The pleasing thing is our Year 4 pupils coped with the competition alongside out Year 5 pupils. All the children produced some really imaginative and well written work.”
Assistant head teacher Dafydd Johnson says the judges, ASH environmental manager Steve Rymill, retired Gwernymynydd county councillor Nancy Matthews and Jane Owens, who volunteers as a reading buddy at the school, had a very tough task.
He said: “There could have been any number of winners and really every pupil deserved a prize.
“However, the judges thought Year 5 pupil Sophie Williams’ story, The World’s Worst Pets which was all about some very naughty animals and Year 4 pupil Bryn Parry’s tale of Missing in the Mist, which was based on the true story of a German war plane which crashed near Nercwys in World War Two were the top two stories.
“They awarded a third prize for best effort to Harry Hughes, also of Year 4, for his very funny story of a conflict between Batman and Spiderman which saw them battle it out for superhero supremacy across the world.”
Steve Rymill said: “As a company engaged in the restoration of Cambrian Quarry it’s important we engage with the community. And there is no better way than working with the village school to inspire and encourage children.
“The stories they wrote were quite simply stunning, full of imagination, funny, charming and in some cases quite poignant.
“As judges we had a very tough task and I’d like to congratulate the children on a wonderful effort. I wish we could have given prizes to every child and I hope this writing competition becomes an annual event.”
Theatr Clwyd engagement officer, Gwennan Mair, enjoyed listening to the stories and says she is delighted to have had the opportunity to work with Gwernymyndd Primary School.
She said: “Hilary, Matt and Emma had an amazing time and, like myself, were amazed at just how accomplished the stories were. It’s very clear there are some very talented budding writers in Gwernymynydd.
“I’m looking forward to working with the school on other future projects. It was lovely to be invited and I know how much Hilary, Matt and Emma enjoyed reading the stories and taking part in a Q&A session about their careers while the judges deliberated.”
To find out more about Theatr Clwyd please visit www.theatrclwyd.com