Friday, 3rd July 2015
Dean Close Prep School Community was very excited to welcome Michael Morpurgo to this year’s Speech Day. Mrs Lawrence and the cast of Private Peaceful were delighted Michael watched scenes from the children’s play they had staged earlier in the year. He then gave the cast a lesson in how to take a bow, explaining that they must bow at least 90⁰ and stay down for the count of one rhinoceros, two rhinoceros, three rhinoceros to maximise levels of applause and if they could squeeze a forth in, that wouldn’t be a bad thing!
Michael entertained children and adults alike with a moving speech about the benefits of challenging ourselves. Sharing personal childhood memories to demonstrate how, when he was most afraid, he took a chance and scored a valuable try as a small 8yro scrum half.
Everyone was enthralled when Michael sang an unaccompanied solo of the song “Barley Corn”, a song taken from the stage performance of War Horse. What an absolute privilege to have Michael with us on Speech Day, a treasured memory for us all to keep for years to come.
Saturday, 13th June 2015
When Lesley is sent to Venice to interview world-renowned violinist Paulo Levi on his fiftieth birthday, she cannot believe her luck. She is told that she can ask him anything at all – except the Mozart question.
Words and music are interwoven in the Mozart Question Concert, to tell Michael Morpurgo’s haunting tale of survival against the odds, set against the background of the Holocaust.
Here, Chris Owen reviews the recent performance at York Minster where it was the headline event at The York Festival of Ideas.
Friday, 12th June 2015
Duncan Kennedy is joined by Micheal Morpurgo to find out why mystery still surrounds the sinking of RMS Lusitania, and pieces together what happened on that fateful last journey.
Micheal explores this in Listen to the Moon, the stunning new novel of World War One. May, 1915. Alfie and his fisherman father find a girl on an uninhabited island in the Scillies - injured, thirsty, lost…and with absolutely no memory of who she is, or how she came to be there.
Michael Morpurgo reveals how the sinking of the Lusitania inspired his book.
There was once in our family a hideous medal, commemorating the sinking of the Lusitania in May of 1915. On one side, there was the ship going down, on the other a skeleton selling tickets (seen here) to the passengers. Ever since those two images stayed with me.
I learned later that the ship was torpedoed by a German U Boat, 12 miles off Kinsale, in the south of Ireland, that she went down in just 18 minutes, with the loss of over a thousand passengers. It was at the time the greatest single wartime civilian disaster in history.
I read around the subject, discovered the great controversy surrounding it, on both sides, that still simmers on to this day.
Thursday, 4th June 2015
Michael Morpurgo was joined by actress Alison Reid, violinist Daniel Pioro and The Storyteller’s Ensemble at this year’s Hay Festival. Together they interweave words and music, to tell his haunting tale of survival against the odds, set against the background of the Holocaust. Adapted and directed by Simon Reade.
If you’d like to catch up with the performance, watch it here, on the BBC Arts website.