New children's musical tackling intolerance in football
‘The Shirt’, a newly developed children’s musical looking to address intolerance in football, will be premiered at St Faith’s School in Cambridge this Wednesday (19 June) and Thursday (20 June).
‘The Shirt’ is the brainchild of life long football fan and architect, Paul Cookson and his creative partner and media presenter (and his daughter) Anna Cookson, with an uplifting and toe tapping musical score by Barry Hart.
The idea was sparked when Paul witnessed hooliganism on the terraces at a match and felt compelled to take action by creating a vehicle to bring the message of tolerance and inclusivity to the next generation of football fans.
“We all have a role to play in influencing the behaviour of youngsters,” said Paul. “Football has always been a passion of mine, and we should do what we can to help tomorrow’s fans enjoy the game with passion, but without racism or violence.”
The story begins when the main character, Zac, gets a Reds’ football shirt for his birthday, he thinks he’s the ‘man of the match’ and taunts his bitter rivals the Blues.
Swept along by his fellow Reds supporters, he picks on an immigrant supporter for being different but, when his own side turns on him for wearing last years kit, and he’s surrounded by angry Blues fans – Zac is forced to confront his own mistakes and learn a lesson that could change his life.
Kaye Allen, head of drama at St Faith’s, commented: “Our year 6 children have responded incredibly well to the themes in this musical, and we are working hard to bring the story to life.
“The challenges Zac faces are easily understood by children of all ages, and our rehearsals are already producing some wonderful dramatic moments. We are all extremely excited about performing ‘The Shirt’ in front of a live audience.”