A guest post by Caroline Hoile

I work as a freelance writer and composer of songs and musical plays for primary and early years education. Lots of schools throughout the UK and across the world perform these musicals every year. They’re mostly published by Grumpy Sheep Music.

I’ve been increasingly frustrated about the lack of media coverage about the plight of refugees and the hazardous journeys they are forced to take to try and reach safety. More people drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in 2016 than in 2015 – and it was barely reported. And so I decided to write a musical play for primary schools about the plight of people forced to flee their homes, to raise awareness amongst children – and also their wider audiences.

As Free as a Bird

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The musical is called ‘As Free As A Bird.’ It’s written as an adventure story in a child–friendly way, and, using animal characters, it’s engaging for primary children, with catchy, uplifting songs. But it nevertheless following a refugee like route, and throughout the musical the animals encounter some of the experiences that people seeking refuge face. It does, thankfully, have a happy ending.

The musical will also provide an accessible way in for thought and further discussion – about caring and sharing​ ​amongst other issues. And performing this musical will count as a practical action towards becoming a school of sanctuary.

‘As Free As A Bird’ is available now from the Grumpy Sheep Music website, where you can hear excerpts of all the songs. It can be performed by any number of children, and comes complete with story, sheet music, CD with backing tracks and as a download extra too. You might like to perform it, sing some of the songs, or showcase an extract of it for Refugee Week 2017!

One World to Share

One of the songs from the musical, ‘One World to Share’, was released for Refugee Week 2016. Written for primary children, it’s ideal to sing in schools – in class, during assembly, with a children’s choir, in church or during a concert in support of Refugee Week or at a Great Get Together event.

‘One World To Share’ is a celebratory, upbeat song, with thoughtful lyrics embracing our shared humanity. It shares the message that every person matters – we’re all people with hopes and similar needs living in one world which we need to share with each other.

Although written for primary schools, I discovered that adults enjoyed singing it too. So during Refugee Week 2016 I formed informal ‘pop-up’ singing groups, and we busked the song in the streets of Newcastle. You might also like to use the song during Refugee Week with adults, or at a Great Get Together gathering – it’s good to use in churches, places of work, or with choirs – even pop-up ones! We’ll be singing it again this year!

So for Refugee Week 2017, let’s sing up in support of refugees. ‘One World To Share’ is very catchy and easy to learn and comes complete with lyrics and backing tracks. It’s available to download here.