Live Theatre is committed to developing positive relationships with schools across Tyneside. By working in close partnership with teachers and pupils Live’s Education & Participation team aims to create a series of bespoke projects and events that will capture the imaginations of both teachers and pupils. This includes delivering Theatre In Education projects, young writers projects and school residencies in harder to reach communities.
Current projects include:
Live Theatre has developed a version of First Draft for use in Secondary Schools, targeting 12 & 13 year olds with poor literacy skills. Write Stuff focuses on developing speaking, listening and literacy skills through a series of practical drama-based workshops that will inspire young people to write. Last year Live Theatre worked with Excelsior Academy in Newcastle and this year we are working with Benfield School. The project is delivered in five stages and Excelsior Academy's final plays were performed as part of Juice Festival in October 2012.
Phase 1: Sessions in School
Live Theatre carries out seven weekly sessions with a group of approximately 15 to 20 young people (chosen by the school). The sessions include drama and theatre skills, leading into writing and art-based exercises. Everything from imagination, improvisation, character and plot development to the use of conflict within plays and how to structure a play are covered.
All of the participants compile a folder of work that include creative writing, character profiles, artwork, short stories, monologues and dialogue. In session seven the group vote on each others’ ideas and six young writers are chosen to attend a further session to prepare for a residency weekend at Live Theatre.
Phase 2: Residency weekend at Live Theatre
The six young writers attend a residency weekend where the young writers work with a dramaturg to write a ten minute play based on what is relevant and important to their lives. By Sunday afternoon the plays are completed and an informal reading with professional actors is held so the writers could hear their work read for the first time.
Phase 3: Editing
After the residency weekend the young writers have the opportunity to edit their scripts. Over seven days the writers are in email contact with their dramaturg to re-work anything they felt needed to be looked at to improve their play.
Phase 4: Rehearsed readings
Once the scripts are complete, the plays are cast and a rehearsed reading takes place at Live Theatre in the spring.
Phase 5: Final Shows - I'm Just Saying...
In October, the plays from the pupils at Excelsior Academy were performed as a full production on the main stage at Live Theatre under the title I'm Just Saying.... presented as part of the Juice Festival, NewcastleGateshead's award-winning festival for children and young people.
"This was a special evening, a sort of artistic epiphany. Rarely has the theatre seemed such a vehicle for ideas as it did tonight. The plays we witnessed were charming, beautiful, funny, relevant and moving, they were all special in different ways, and they were all written by twelve year olds." - The Good Review
"There are so many positives to take from this but the biggest of all has to be the role that Live Theatre and the Juice Festival have played. To be given these facilities, these resources and this opportunity at the age of twelve is amazing. It shatters the illusion that theatre is inaccessible and offers live art to a brand new, young and exciting audience. What a fabulous initiative and what a marvellous, thrilling night at the theatre." - The Good Review
Read The Good Review's full article about I'm Just Saying...
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