Students from Longcause Community Special School in Plymouth have transformed their drama studio into a world filled with elves thanks to a pilot scheme run by the Theatre Royal Plymouth.
The project aimed to improve the confidence and skills of the students, who have a range of special educational needs. The Theatre Royal Plymouth already works with a number of primary and secondary schools in the area. It’s hoped that if this pilot proves a success, the scheme will be expanded so more special schools in the area can benefit.
The students created their own drama about what an off-duty elf does when he’s not tirelessly making shoes, based on the show The Elves and the Shoemaker, which was performed at the Drum Theatre over the Christmas period.
The students created a set (including hand made shoes suspended from the ceiling), made and used puppets, created characters to inhabit their world and acted as tour guides for people coming to see the elf world. Two performance practitioners and a designer from the Theatre Royal helped the students bring their ideas to life.
After a fortnight of work, the project culminated in a special performance for invited friends and family at Longcause School.
Expressive Arts Leader at Longcause School, Debbie Grayson said, “The project is a big success! It has gone particularly well as the school went to watch The Elves and the Shoemaker at the theatre before the workshop began. This has provided a clearer purpose and was very motivating for our pupils. The Theatre Royal has been very cooperative with our pupils and has allowed them to be imaginative and adapt the story to create their own themes and ideas.”
Fran King, Education Producer at the Theatre Royal, said, “We’re aiming to increase opportunities for the young people to take part in theatre and help them work in a creative way. We also want to build on the specialist programmes we already have in place for schools in the area by increasing the work we do with special schools. If this pilot is a success, we hope the scheme will be expanded to include more special schools in the Plymouth area.”
The Theatre Royal Plymouth’s Creative Learning Programme provides opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to get involved with theatre making. For more information, click here.