Pupils win Latin drama competition

August 03 2018

CHILDREN at St Augustine’s Primary in Downend took first and second place in a Latin drama competition in Bristol.

For the contest, run by the Bristol Classics Hub and partnered by the Bristol Classical Association, plays had to be performed completely in Latin.

St Augustine;s were the only state school to take part  in the competition, which was held in the 1562 Theatre at Bristol Grammar School. 

Despite having started Latin only eight months ago, the pupils were able to show off many of the language skills and vocabulary they had learned. For example, did you know that when you say hello to one person in Latin you say, “salve” but when you say it to more than one person, you need to say “salvete?” 

Adjectives also go after the noun and the spelling changes for nouns and adjectives depending on whether they are masculine or feminine. 

The staff at St. Augustine’s have used the Minimus resources, which are based on a mouse “that made Latin cool”. The resources, created by Bristol teacher Barbara Bell,  seek to make links between Latin and English; European bilingual children are often able to relate vocabulary to another language. The Latin is learned through a series of stories about a family who lived at Vindolanda and is based around archeological finds from the site and includes Greek myths which would have been well known to the Romans. 

Barbara Bell introduced the competition and was bowled over by the quality of the performances. She was particularly pleased to see the handmade toy Minimus on stage. 

Two teams of Y5 pupils represented St Augustine’s.  With some help from a Latin specialist, they incorporated translations of well-known songs in Latin into their performances. Each team included their own musicians with one team being accompanied by a cornet and the other by recorders and a glockenspiel. One play was about the characters from Minimus whilst the other was based on the Greek myth, Daedalus and Icarus. 

Their teacher, Rachael Swonnell, was extremely proud of them. She said:  “Their success was down to the children’s own motivation to give of their best so they could perform confidently. Their dedication to practice reflects many of our core school values and they were super ambassadors for us. 

"Our whole school is tremendously proud of their success. Euge! (Hooray).”