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Opening Doors


Emily Sanctuary, our Development Manager, recently visited a Skill Up workshop at Amersham School with a class of 13-14 year olds that the teacher had told us could be quite challenging in lessons; some students had ADHD and there were problems with engagement and discipline.  Comedy improvisation and stage combat turned out to be the perfect hook! 

Skill Up is designed to encourage Year 9 students to choose Drama at GCSE, to counteract the dimishing place of the arts in schools due to budget cuts and Government education policies that place lower value on subjects like Drama.  With this aim in mind and the behaviour issues we had been made aware of, the Amersham workshops focussed on comedy improvisation and stage combat, i.e. skills that are really fun and very physically active!

Emily had taken along Kate Whitaker, from RELX Group which was sponsoring the project, and she said both of them spent the workshop in stitches, “the kids were so creative, with incredible imaginations, the way they executed their ideas was so funny and well thought-out”.   Sam, the teacher, was surprised by the level of engagement, enthusiasm and respect our drama practitioner elicited from the class. 

The students were working towards their own devised piece of theatre. Emily learned that one of the boys was using this to tell the story of his difficult homelife. The teacher was certain that he would not be comfortable sharing his experience in any other way than through drama, which had given him the space and means to tell his story. 

Skill Up was a real success story in terms of keeping the arts alive and thriving in schools: after the project finished Sam said “There was a real buzz around the school. Students started enquiring about drama because of the project” and 94% of the students that took part said that it had encouraged them to think of choosing Drama and theatre as a GCSE or career. 

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Mousetrap Theatre Projects
33 Shaftesbury Avenue

t: 020 7632 4111
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