Due to the success of our Multicultural Music-Making project in schools in Ladywood and Walsall, our schools and young people asked for more. After running sessions with the young people they identified that they’d like to attend drama sessions. Importantly, they weren’t interested in making traditional theatre shows, but were more focused on using drama for personal and social development and confidence-building. In response we set up Drama Clubs in several of the schools, in after-school settings. We were successful in gaining support for 2 years of the programme from BBC Children in Need.
We brought in experienced practitioners who looked at developing the young people’s improvisational skills, using a variety of techniques including Jonathan Kay’s fooling processes and improvisational games inspired by Augusto Boal’s forum theatre work. We kept the clubs young-person focused, responding to their needs and interests and encouraged them to come up with ways of sharing their new-found skills. We also found ways to bring the schools together to develop their work and to showcase it to each other. This included a series of hilarious skits and sketches including ‘Britain’s Got No Talent’ and walkabout theatre pieces which they performed at Summer school events.
The project has worked wonders for the young people in terms of their development, their confidence and has helped with their behaviour and school attainment. They’ve also had and spread bucket loads of joy in the process.
We’re currently developing a new project for a group of young people with different abilities which will commence when lockdown restrictions are eased.