Children from the Agnes van Brakel school in Helenabrunn show “Jim Button” in the circus tent

Agnes van Brakel School in Helenabrunn
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Children show “Jim Button” in the tent

When the gym of the Agnes van Brakel school burned down, a circus tent was erected. It cost 10,000 euros – funded by donations. All 111 students are in the play, which will be shown on Friday.

The tent next to the Agnes van Brakel school in Helenabrunn has been up all week. This time, however, there will be no circus performance in the circus tent for 400 visitors. Instead, the 111 children at the school will perform a play there: the Michael Ende classic “Jim Button.”

The procurement of the tent was a big task for the school. “Unfortunately, our gym burned down about a year and a half ago. The new building keeps getting delayed, so we had no other way to rehearse and perform the piece. We had to dig deep into the pockets for the tent, which would not have been possible without donations, ”says principal Agnes Steinfartz.

The cost of 10,000 euros, which had to be paid for rent and transport to Cologne’s play circus, was covered by a charity run by the children, but also by many donations from local businesses. “The children ran up to 3,000 euros from their parents, grandparents and so on. Another 2,000 euros come from local businesses. From opticians to scaffolding, everything is there. Without our support association we would never have been able to get the whole project started,” says Steinfartz. “The local rifle shooters also helped a lot, especially with setting up the tent, which we had to manage ourselves. We worked for about seven hours on Friday and Saturday. At least my respect for circus people who do this in a few days intervals, increased a lot, ”says the headmistress with a smile.

For the game itself, it was important for those responsible that each child has a role. 111 students perform. The lead roles have also been cast several times. For example, Emma plays Jim Button in the first half and Luis in the second half. It’s the same with Lukas, “says ten-year-old Sofie. The engine Emma (not the above actress) is also played by children. “We were rehearsing every day this week. It was a lot of fun. I’m in a scene in the dragon school. Mrs. Mahlzahn has an assistant who beats the students. Our group is part of the scene,” Sofie says.

But in the play, Mrs Mahlzahn is in fact a Mr Mahlzahn. The role of Kasimir is played. “I really enjoy practicing. In addition, the two supervisors, Moritz and Cynthia, are really very nice,” says the nine-year-old. Learning his text was not a problem. “I succeeded quite quickly.” His classmate Mauritz came to a similar conclusion. “You just have to dare to go on stage and also talk,” says the ten-year-old. The only difficult thing, Mauritz and Kasimir agree, is not to laugh.

There are two performances. This is a special event for the kids. After all, they have never performed in front of so many people before. “I do not assume that we will get the 400 seats filled. But if we have more than 200 visitors to both performances plus the children who are not performing at the moment, then it would be great, ”says Steinfartz.

Incidentally, some of the children only got to know the Jim Button story through the play. “I knew it before, read the book and watched the movies. They saw the film in the parallel class, ”says Kasimir.

For data protection reasons, filming and photography are otherwise prohibited during the performances. An official movie will be created for this by Moritz Preen. The 16-year-old also works professionally as a filmmaker, for example for weddings, and has to make an official film for the school. “We still need to see how this will be distributed. We do not yet know if all visitors, parents or third parties can buy the video, “says the headmaster.

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