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THE PLAY’S THE THING: The school play is the single most competitive time of year for modern parents, according to new research

  • In a nationwide survey, British parents admit their child auditioning for the school play brings out their most competitive edge

Forget sport’s day or parent’s evenings – the school PLAY is the single most competitive event for modern parents, according to new research.

As auditions and preparations for end of year productions kick off across the UK – a nationwide survey of British parents has revealed as many one in ten have splashed out for extra singing and dancing lessons for their little darlings, in a bid to give them the “edge” over other auditionees.

And almost one in twenty have attempted to suck up to their child’s teacher, to help land them a plum role.

In fact, a staggering 66 percent admit their child auditioning for the school play brings out their worst competitive edge.

Almost two in ten (17 percent) confess they spend hours making their youngsters costumes from scratch in a bid to “out do” the competition.

And when it comes to the biggest production of the year – the nativity play, over half of the parents polled (58 percent) said they are secretly deeply disappointed when their child misses out on a main part.

The research was commissioned by Virgin TV to launch its Christmas Stars competition giving primary schools across the UK the chance to have their Christmas play recorded and made available to millions of TV viewers.

As part of the prize, the winning school will get to work with TV presenter Stephen Mulhern, who will join the school’s cast as the play’s narrator.

Virgin TV will film the one-off performance, making it available via on-demand, to its four million customers in the days leading up to Christmas. The winning school will be awarded £5,000 while a runner-up will receive £1,000.

One in ten of the parent’s polled (11 percent) admit bragging on social media that their child had won a coveted “lead” role, while a further 11 percent will complain to anyone who will listen that their child has missed out on a big role.

28 percent have got to their child’s school early in bid to bag a front row seat, while 11 percent have thrown a sickie from work to make sure they can get to the play in time.

A further 18 percent said they are stuck down by parental guilt if they miss their child’s star turn.

And according to the data if our little ones don’t get to play Mary, Joseph or the Angel Gabriel they are most likely to play a minor role such as a star (27 percent) a shepherd (26 percent) or one of the wise men (22 percent).

David Bouchier, Chief Digital Entertainment Officer at Virgin Media, said: “Our research shows just how important the school Christmas play is to parents. That’s why we want to share this magic with millions of our Virgin TV customers.

Whether it’s a traditional nativity featuring Mary and Joseph or a new tale with a talking snowman, we want to take the UK’s best festive school play from the school hall into our customers’ homes.

“With the amazing opportunity to work with Stephen Mulhern, this is a cracker of a prize and we can’t wait to see what primary schools have in store for us.”

For 8 percent of us our offspring will be given the demanding role of a tree, while 22 percent will be a sheep and 12 percent a donkey.

However, whatever the role 28 percent of us will shed a tear when we see our little ones tread the boards.

On average we will take 11 pictures of our children over the festive period, with most of us (59 percent) taking pics of them opening their presents, with a further 50 percent snapping away as they decorate the tree.

  • Virgin TV’s Christmas Stars competition opens today – via virginmedia.com/Christmas and closes at midnight on Tuesday 27 November. The winning school will also be awarded £5,000 while a runner up will receive £1,000. Twenty two schools will be given £100 for reaching the final stage of the competition, too.
  • The research of 2,000 parents was conducted in November 2018 by Ginger Research on behalf of Virgin TV