As the dramatic arts begin to emerge from the shadows of the pandemic, Silhouette Youth Theatre is taking an exciting mix of dance, drama and music to primary school children.
In a series of ‘takeovers’ Silhouette will be challenging mainly Year 6 pupils in schools within the Nene Education Trust to look back over their time in primary school before they take the big step towards secondary education.
Beginning at the end of April and carrying on throughout May, the Silhouette team will be visiting Stanwick Primary, Windmill Primary, St Peters Primary, Woodford Primary and Newton Road Primary, as well as working with the Year 2 children about to move up from Raunds Park Infants School.
The aims of the events are for the children:
- To have fun, enjoy themselves and to be creatively connected
- To work together with friends in dance, drama and songwriting
- To be creative and to enjoy working in the performing arts
- To come together as a class and have a day they won’t forget
Leigh Wolmarans, Director of Drama at Silhouette, said: “This past year has been incredibly tough for all of us, but children in particular have missed so much through not being together with their friends. The end of primary school is a massive thing for children and the message we got last year was that children didn’t have that big finale, they were telling us that they didn’t feel like they’d really left the school.
“We want this year to be different and to give them a really exciting day when they can unpick the primary school years and look at the good times, the bad times and how they have changed along the way and put that into some form of performing arts.”
As well as Leigh, the children will be working with Director of Dance Sam Biddulph and John Bowman, Musical Director, and throughout the day the activities will be captured on video by Director of Film Paul Martin.
Paul’s footage will be edited and sent to each school to share with the children and snippets from all the schools will be used to create a Nene Education Trust film that encapsulates the whole project.
Matt Coleman, Director of Primary Education with the Nene Education Trust, said: “We are so excited about seeing what the children come up with. We very much believe in what we call our Whole Child Project, which is not just about academic achievement but to celebrate all the things that children are good at and make sure they have plenty of fun as they go through their education.
“It’s too easy for the focus of a school to become very narrow and centred on grades and results. Children do have a lot to catch up on after months of disruption and home schooling, but we believe they should be catching up on the fun times, getting back together with their friends and picking up those social skills again.
“They will catch up on the academic stuff. It’s not life-changing to ‘miss out’ on that at primary age and we have every confidence in our teachers and support staff to help the children get to where they need to. Missing out on the memories and the special, fun times could be far worse.”
Each school will split the children into three groups and each group will get a chance to take part in dance, drama and songwriting. At the end of each day, everyone will come back together for a celebration of what they have achieved.
Leigh said: “All credit to Nene Education Trust because what they are doing is wonderful. Children need to be creative to make sense of what they have experienced, to unpick their time at school and think about what words define that time, and how they can express that in song, dance or theatre.
“Particularly given the disruption they have had during the past year, I think it’s important to try to remind them what school was like in those years before the pandemic hit, and to remind them what it is like to be in a room with their friends having fun.
“The great thing about the arts is being in the room. Yes, you can do sessions online, but when you’re all together and you feel that buzz, there’s nothing that can beat that. The arts, which were already facing cuts and underfunding, have taken another massive hit this past year and it will be exciting to get children fired up about the creative side of life again.”
For further information about the Nene Education Trust, visit www.neneeducationtrust.org.uk