ONLY a few years ago it faced the axe – now its all-singing, all-dancing pupils are getting ready to hit the big time.
A “live action” musical shot at closure-threatened Stockbridge Primary and telling the tale of a group of youngsters out to save their school is to receive its silver-screen debut at the Capital’s biggest cinema.
Award-winning local filmmaker Angus Reid said he wrote and directed Primary School Musical to celebrate the remarkable turnaround enjoyed by Stockbridge – slated for closure along with 21 other city schools in 2007 but saved after a campaign by parents.
The school’s reversal of fortune will be sealed when the film is shown to around 500 ten and 11-year-olds at Cineworld in Fountainbridge on Monday.
Exploring themes such as bullying and single parenthood, the high-energy flick – with a budget of £8000 and funded partly through box office receipts from the pupils’ earlier performances of the stage version – is an upfront look at modern childhood in all its grit and colour.
Mr Reid, 47, a father-of-two whose own children attended the school, said: “Making this was very demanding – it’s for kids so it’s got to be funny.”
The film centres on Kran, a boy who is so happy at primary school that he wants it to last forever. Appalled at the prospect of moving to secondary, he begins to sing about his predicament, inspiring all the other children in the playground to join in.
But disaster looms when a villain known as the Evil Mastermind appears and tries to close the school – sparking a campaign to save it through song.
“I always knew that the message of the film was going to be about the power of collective action,” said Mr Reid.
“There were 22 schools threatened with closure in 2007. As parents, we went to the Scottish Parliament – we destroyed the policy. It was thrilling to be part of a big collective action like that. When the kids in this film grow up, they will know how to stick up for themselves.”
The film comes as schools work to blend video and film technology into lessons under the new Curriculum for Excellence.
Stockbridge staff said taking part had made a huge difference to youngsters at the school. Principal teacher Amanda Burton said: “It’s been good for them to see what it takes to put a film together and experience that wider audience.”