Rethinking Education: The story so far...

As we begin 2016, I thought it would be a good time to offer an update on the work we have been doing over the past few months in terms of our discussions around education and the practical educational activities we have been able to achieve since last May.  A huge thank you to all of you who have contributed to this work, either in person or online; please don't forget that this discussion is not over - it is very much still alive, so any further thoughts or contributions would be gratefully received. 

As we head into the new year we continue to work towards the creation of our educational programme of activity, consulting with arts and educational practitioners throughout Wales about how National Theatre Wales can most effectively engage with and work alongside the young people of Wales.  We have held three regional meetings where we have work-shopped ideas, shared creative experiences and discussed creativity within the curriculum. We have curated an online discussion surrounding this work, entitled “Rethinking Education” available to view via the Group pages of our website:

Practitioners, teachers, artists and parents have all contributed to this discussion and have shared links to a number of useful articles and resources - thank you to all of you who have joined in with this discussion so far.

Mother Courage, performed in Merthyr Tydfil in May 2015 allowed for much educational discussion surrounding the show. We filmed pupils from Ysgol Gyfun Rhydywaun engaging in discussions with cast and creatives on Brecht, on Mother Courage & Motherhood and on Community, all of which are available online through our TEAM Education pages and all of which could be used in the classroom as a springboard educational resource.

Iliad, performed in Llanelli in September provided many curriculum links and we were pleased to be able to offer to schools and colleges in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire a workshop on conflict delivered by one of the directors, a backstage tour delivered by our Head of Production and performance workshops delivered by cast members, all of which proved popular and provided pupils with a further insight into not only the themes of the show but also the practical work involved in staging such an epic piece of theatre.

Our most recent production, Candylion, staged in Cardiff over December, was the perfect show for families and many educational activities were created to accompany the production, all of which took place in the foyer of the Swalec stadium.  These activities were developed to complement the five Creative Habits of Mind, which have formed the basis for the thinking behind the Creative Schools Initiative.  We were also delighted to have been able to work with Ocean Park Academy in Splott.  They created a behind-the-scenes film, visiting our offices to interview the Assistant Director and our Press and PR Manager about their roles In the production and visiting the set to interview cast and creatives as part of the official press conference.  This film will be available to view online via the TEAM Education pages in the near future. 

We are enthusiastically engaging with the Creative Schools Initiative, playing an active role in the Regional Networks and making ourselves available to the Creative Agents and Creative Practitioners involved, ensuring that we offer whatever support we are able to give.

We have developed an online resource sharing area for teachers and arts practitioners to contribute towards by sharing lesson plans, ideas and activities developed for any subject area but with creativity at its heart.  This is one of our online community groups and can be accessed via the National Theatre Wales website and the group Resources: A Creative Curriculum: - a huge thank you to all of you who have contributed to this group so far.

Thanks to the many wonderful suggestions offered in the meetings and online we are now taking steps to make these ideas a reality:

We are looking at ways in which we can hear from young people themselves - we want their opinions about what they feel their National Theatre could and should be doing for them in terms of an education programme.  

We are looking at developing digital projects, drawing on our strength in this area to engage with young people and offering them a digital platform upon which to share their own creative ideas.

We are looking at developing educational activities related to specific shows, drawing on our wealth of experience of working in and engaging with communities.

We are strengthening our links with young people outside the mainstream education system, as well as those within, looking at ways in which we can make creative opportunities available to all young people, whether they are in schools, colleges, PRUs or are Educated Otherwise. 

This is a very exciting time and the discussion is far from over yet, so if you haven't done so already, please join in!

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Comment by Laura H Drane on January 20, 2016 at 15:21

great update Naomi.

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