Newington Green school transforms into theatre for week ahead of musical

Pupils from two schools combine to self-produce ‘fantastic’ play (From Haringey Independent)

Pupils from two schools combine to self-produce ‘fantastic’ play (From This Is Local London)

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Arts group stages music and drama workshops on health theme

PUPILS at St Margaret Clitherow Catholic Primary School in Tonbridge took part in music and drama workshops put on by Art Insight.
Sixty children from KS2 were put through their paces by professional acting and musical directors to create an original musical based on the theme of healthy lifestyle choices called ‘Captain Health’.
After practising over the two days they performed what they had learnt in front of friends and family and the rest of the school. Arts Insight’s workshops prove that when children are given a role to play they are able to act responsibly, be trustworthy, whilst communicating well and working as a team.
This workshop had particular poignance for those involved in the scheme as it was being held at the school of its musical director, Fergal O’mahony ’s, niece.
Laura Berridge, Art Insight’s artistic director said: “Fergal composed the music for this and many of the shows Arts Insight presents.
“Fergal sadly passed away at the age of 31 in September 2014. Fergal’s girlfriend Robine and sister Fiona joined our team of practitioners for this workshop to help remember this great musical talent who helped put Arts Insight on the map and continues to do so with the amazing music that we will continue to share for years to come. ”



Please click here to read the article in Kidderminster Shuttle

Washington Star

Please click here to read the article in Kidderminster Shuttle

County Times
West Sussex County Times have covered our latest workshop at Castlewood Primary School. Read the full article here

BBC Sheffield at Dore

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Stage-struck youngsters at a Sheffield school experienced the magic of the musical during a two-day theatre workshop brought to the city by an educational charity.

Dore Primary welcomed two tutors from the Arts Insight group to work with 60 ten and 11 year-olds creating a production from scratch. The school chose as it’s theme World War One, a topical choice with the centenary of the outbreak taking place next year. It was one of four potential subjects offered by the charity for the children to explore. The result was a 20-minute play which was performed for fellow pupils, staff and parents – and proved to be a moving experience for all concerned. Children were split into four group to each work on their own scenes, and two musical numbers – Remembrance Song and Battlefield Song. Schoolteacher, Laura Birch said the youngsters had worked solidly for a day and a half on the production in intense drama workshops. “The initial theme to work on was sending off a soldier from his loved ones and the pupils were encouraged to think like a real actor would.” she said. That meant they really had to het into their parts – to think about what it would be like for each family to send away a young one, to think about what the emotions would have been like in that house on that day. Each group treated the scenario differently. In one farewells were said over dinner, in another the family sang It’s A Long Way To Tipperary together. And in another the departing soldier played games with his children before setting off for war. The drama also looked at the recruiting stations where numbers were called out and the men joined their units. Pupils weren’t expected to write the songs themselves – Fergal from the charity brought along both words and sheet music for them to learn. “It was quite a fear for the children to learn all the words over night.” Laura said. Laura said pupils were much more familiar with the Second World War. Like most schools, it is a compulsory topic which year 6’s study over a 10-week period. “It’s a subject we treat very seriously, and we take children every year to the remembrance service which is held at Dore Church, and where pupils take part in readings,” she said. “That conflict is something they are very aware of – but World War One has been new to them.” But Laura said the Arts Insight visit was not about a historical project. “The aim was more to understand what it would feel like to be a soldier. It was about empathy, putting themselves in that person’s shoes. As for the performance, people loved it. Around 60 parents attended the show as well as the children from other classes. The place was buzzing. There was a real atmosphere and many of the parents in the audience were crying, it really touched them.

The Arts Insight team visits schools offering music, movement and drama workshops and makes no charge and Laura Birch (school teacher) said Dore were very lucky to acquire their services. “It gave the while school a bit of a boost and the children would love to have them back again,” she added. Dore now aims to build upon the skills the pupils have taken on board, with three further shows planned this school year. An interest in World War One is by no means over – a two week project on the subject is planned for the whole school next summer.

Backing: School support

Arts Insight receives financial backing from the Sheffield Bluecoat and Mount Pleasant Educational Fund, the James Neill Trust Fund and Rathbones. The aim is to use performing arts to encourage teamwork, ambition and self-belief. By promoting a strong work ethic and desire to succeed, projects equip children with key skills for life.

Nanpean Primary school played host to an Arts Insight two-day workshop last week.
Under the expert tutelage of founder and director Laura Berridge, the workshop incorporated the three main performing arts disciplines of singing, drama and dance to create an original musical about healthy lifestyles which was later performed in front of parents, carers and MP Steven Gilbert.
Laura explained more about her method: “Our mission is simple: to offer young pupils rare vocational experiences in the form of music, movement and drama. By using performing arts as a vehicle we encourage teamwork, dedication, ambition and self-belief.”

A King’s Cross school turned itself into a fully fledged theatre company to stage a production about the evils of an unhealthy lifestyle. Children at Winton Primary School, in Killick Street, spent the week divided in different theatre departments to stage Captain Health Vs Baron Bone-Idle, which aims to promote healthy eating amongst children.
Pupils formed costume production and even marketing departments, and tried to contact the Gazette for some publicity. Head teacher Andrew Rigby said “They took their responsibilities really seriously and had a real insight into what theatre is like. The mayor of Islington turned up for the show and the staff had no idea he was coming – the marketing department had called him. Normally the staff are involved with things like this – but this time it was the children. It was the best performance we have ever done.”

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GREAT Malvern Primary School was transformed into a professional working theatre as pupils were challenged to create a musical in a week.

Children have been working with the Arts Insight charity to write and perform their brand new production When Two Worlds Collide (Continents United). Headteacher Paul Jackson-Read said: “It has been a fantastic week. Something like 140 children have been directly involved in creating this production from scratch.

“Many have attended X Factor-style auditions to try and get a performing role and have all felt the real life pressure of putting on a truly professional performance. The non-performing children have all had a role to fulfil and have all risen to the challenge.”

He added: “The confidence that this project has brought to many children is simply brilliant.”

Stradbroke was only the second school in the country to take on the Musical in a week challenge. “It was a really excellent week” said learning mentor Kathryn Cockayne…….The show had a very positive message……. The culmination of all the hard work were two performances at Stradbroke Community Centre which were seen by parents and friends of the school…. Kathryn said the children were already asking when they could do it all again. “We would certainly love that, it was such an exciting experience.”

Arts Insight and Stradbroke Primary on BBC Radio Sheffield

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Carclaze selected their year 6 pupils to take part in the two day workshop and were excited to see the practitioners enthuse and motivate them to consider their future. “The members of Arts Insight capture the children’s attention instantly and develop their imagination and creativity, whilst promoting teamwork and inclusion for all” said Carly Marsden, Deputy Head.

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