I am delighted to be able to invite you all, on behalf of the school, to our production of Bugsy Malone. I can remember seeing Alan Parker’s iconic film when it was first released in 1976, aged just 9. The captivating musical comedy transported my young mind into a world of daring adventure, moving pathos and of course, riotous marshmallow-based fun.
I think there is something timelessly wistful and inspiring about the idea that ‘We could have been anything that we wanted to be, with all the talent we had’, and whilst it is not quite as punchy as ‘Be Ambitious’, it would be a decent motto, if only it had a sense of future optimism, rather than retrospective lament.
Of course, in Parker’s production there is redemption in the end, but for the characters in the story this outcome was never certain. I suppose in many ways that is the key to understanding Bugsy Malone, as it depicted the life of Al Capone-type characters in Prohibition Era America: that we all stand at a crossroads where choices must be made, that may, or may not work out well, choices that may, or may not be good. As such, it is not only a great piece of thought provoking theatre for children, it also gives pause for thought to adults.
However, what marks out Bugsy Malone in my memory is that it was the first film that I had seen which featured a children’s cast playing complex themes. In this sense, it was very ambitious. What better production then for us to put on here at the British International School Shanghai, and in fact to go one better than Alan Parker’s film, and ensure that not only the acting, but the singing too, is an all-children production.
That is the benefit of a Juilliard inspired production, where the cast, musicians, crew, production teams and parent performing arts team can live out our motto of ‘Be Ambitious’ to ensure that at the British International School Shanghai, our fantastic children really can grow up to be anything that they want to be.
I look forward to meeting you all at the show on Thursday 22 March and Friday 23 March 2018.
Dr Neil Hopkin, Principal
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