Charlie Mackesy co-produces musical for children to perform in primary schools

Author and illustrator Charlie Mackesy has co-produced a musical for schools adapted from the Oscar winning animated short film that is based on his book The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse.

Alongside writer and musician Charlotte Freud, Mackesy has helped to create the musical play, written to be performed by children in primary schools.

The 60-year-old has partnered with the National Literacy Trust, Penguin Random House UK and BBC Teach to bring out a collection of free educational resources that are based around the book.

This material will assist teachers with their lesson plans, assemblies, and performances.

EE British Academy Film Awards 2023 – Press Room – London
Charlie Mackesy after winning the award for British Short Animation for The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse in the press room at the 76th British Academy Film Awards held at the Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall in London (Ian West/PA)

On Friday the educational pack for Mackesy’s play became available to teachers for free on BBC Teach and includes a playscript, sheet music, sing-along learning videos, performance tracks and backdrop artworks.

In the musical there are six easy-to-learn solo and ensemble songs for children to perform.

The purpose of the free material is to get children engaged with the book’s messages through interactive sessions.

Mackesy said of the educational kit: “I hope perhaps it opens up the world a bit more to children, giving them a deeper understanding of the messages of the book.

“I hope learning the lines as simple mantras will allow them to repeat them all their lives, and stay in their hearts.

“I hope it gives teachers and children alike, permission to explore – feel free to do what they like – perform every word faithfully; or change some lines as they see best; leave out whole scenes or just rehearse and perform one of them; workshop it, make it different or even find themselves creating a while new play all of their own. I hope they enjoy it.”

Mackesy has received messages from children and teachers who have engaged with his book in the classroom, ever since it was published in 2019 and turned into an animated film adaptation in 2022.

This year the film won an Oscar for best animated short film at the 95th Academy Awards and a Bafta for best short animation.

The resource pack, created in collaboration with Mackesy, includes assembly plans and classroom activities for KS1 And KS2 and has been made available in celebration of World Kindness Day on Monday November 13.

As well as linking directly to the curriculum, the material shows children ways to show kindness to one another.

Also for World Kindness Day, publisher of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, Ebury, part of Penguin Random House UK, will be donating books to over 64 primary schools for a “kindness drive” initiative.

Meanwhile Puffin’s World of Stories team will be gifting over 450 copies of a version of the book that was published to accompany the animated short film.

These will be given to teachers and librarians attending their regional networking sessions in November.