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      The schoolday I’ll never forget: ‘I staged a play and caused a riot’

      Arwa Mahdawi · news.movim.eu / TheGuardian · Thursday, 2 September, 2021 - 05:00 · 1 minute

    It was a play about the murder of the headteacher. What could possibly go wrong? Then an ill-considered marketing plan caused the crowd to erupt

    You know those annoying kids who are good at everything? They are athletic, they are musical, they get the lead role in the school play, everyone loves them? Well, I was not one of those kids. I did well academically but possessed no other discernible talents. The highlight of my athletic career may have been when I came third in a sports day egg-and-spoon race. As for music, I was so challenged that I was once asked to lip-sync the recorder during a school concert. The ignominy of this left me with a burning hatred of the recorder – a cursed instrument – that I carry with me to this day.

    Despite this lack of stage skills, I did harbour some frustrated thespian ambitions. Luckily for the 10-year-old me, my primary school had a progressive new headteacher, Mr Cooper, who was very enthusiastic about encouraging creativity. I had a little gang of friends who liked to write stories and one day we asked the headteacher if we could put on a play in the school hall during lunchtime. There would be a 10p suggested donation and all the money would go to a charity for sick horses. He was thrilled by our initiative. He didn’t even seem to mind that the play, a tragi-comedy, was called The Murder of Mr Cooper.

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