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Robin Hood takes over Ditmas Park school!

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Checkmate: Alex Cordova, 9, plays an oversize chess game at the festival.
Is that Maid Marian?: Oh, it’s Kayla Pinkney, 10, of Ditmas Park!
Lovely: Naomi Henry, left, and Taskin Khan, both 9, show off their flowers.
Bull’s-eye: Alan Epstein, a teacher at PS 217, takes pies to the face at the Robin Hood festival at PS 217 in Ditmas Park.
Oh, so pretty: Alison Apoliner, 8, gets her face painted at the Robin Hood festival.

A Ditmas Park school was raided by Robin Hoods this weekend — hundreds of them.

Kids at PS 217 transformed their school into a modern Sherwood Forest for a Robin Hood-themed fair this past weekend, which culminated with a production of the epic anti-greed tale.

“The play was a hit and the children were wonderful,” said Franca Conti, the principal of the Ditmas Park school, which teaches kindergarten through fifth grade. “It makes my heart swell to see the children so happy on stage!”

The play was so popular that administrators said they sold out all of the theater’s 600 seats.

The fair beforehand, which included a raffle stocked by Brooklyn businesses like the Flatbush Food Coop and Brooklyn Boulder, helped raise money to keep the school’s renowned theater department going after a federal arts grant expired in the fall.

The fair also featured such Nottingham-appropriate events like face-painting, a walking Renaissance minstrel, and even an archery course, albeit one stocked with suction cup-tipped arrows.

Teachers said that keeping the theater program going at the school was integral to continuing the school’s educational success.

“Whether or not they’re successful academically, plays help kids feel really good about themselves; it builds their confidence,” said Judy Brandwein, the magnet coordinator at the school. “Having arts in the school help all kids be succesful, and it benefits academics, too.”

Administrators from the school insisted that the selection of the British populist tale, which tells the story of Robin Hood, a hero who steals from the super rich, had nothing to do with current events.

“We didn’t think of it at all,” said Brandwein. “Every year we put on two different productions.”

Reach reporter Eli Rosenberg at or by calling (718) 260-2531. And follow him at

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