Wise About Words
Wise About Words is a two year partnership project between Norwich Theatre and The Wensum Trust, generously funded by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Teacher Development Fund. Empowering teachers and Senior Leaders working with artists to harness the power of story-sharing and reduce barriers to learning for pupils experiencing disadvantage.
Across Norfolk the project explores the barriers to learning in eight primary schools in urban, rural and coastal locations. Wise About Words will support teacher’s professional development and learning in the delivery of effective arts-based learning in the primary classroom. The project is designed to be immersive and collaborative with teacher, artists and senior leaders in schools working together as co-learners to improve outcomes for pupils.
Norfolk Schools Opera Project
The Norfolk Schools Opera Project was established in 1997. In the interim years, we have worked with over 3,500 children and 350 teachers from 123 Norfolk schools.
The purpose of the project is to engage Key Stage 2 children in creative and cultural learning through the medium of opera in order to foster a long-term relationship with the arts, enhance their school attainment, and develop their aspirations. The project has a particular focus on supporting pupils facing serious socio-economic disadvantage.
In 2019 the programme included an Opera Celebration Day, CPD for teachers, singing and music workshops for children, and the creation of a brand new children’s version of Mozart’s The Magic Flute. Featuring a fusion between classic opera and salsa, the opera was performed at NorwichTheatre Royal in June; a shorter version featuring over 600 students/performers was then presented at the Royal Albert Hall in London in November 2019.
At the Playhouse
At Norwich Playhouse we have two education projects giving students access to quality experiences as audience members or performers. Both projects have been devised with Heads of English and Drama/Theatre Studies departments. Playhouse Education is committed to meeting the needs of teachers in relation to the new specifications for English and Spoken Language at GCSE and A level.
We believe that access to quality theatre experiences for students, as audience members or performers, is of measurable benefit to the English/English Literature curriculum through:
- understanding and interpreting texts
- empathising with characters’ feelings
- engaging in critical and reflective thinking and, in particular
- broadening both general knowledge and cultural literacy in preparation for reading “unseen” texts
Aimed at Year 8-12 English Literature students, this project gives ways into critical and reflective thinking for exams through performing extracts from curriculum texts on stage at the Playhouse.
- To create a series of short performance pieces, live or on film, exclusively using English curriculum texts
- To offer opportunities for students to work with Playhouse technicians on sound, lighting and projection choices to help analyse and decode curriculum texts
- To create a positive and inclusive shared performance opportunity that is accessible to students’ families and friends
- To record the evening event to share as a teaching aid for English and Drama classes
‘StageLit was devised with Norfolk teachers to give English literature students, and particularly those requiring additional support, a way into critical and reflective thinking by performing curriculum texts at the theatre. It is evident that this approach has been extremely rewarding and successful for the schools, teachers and pupils involved and it is clear that the model has great wider potential and relevance.’
Mary Muir, Norfolk County Council Arts Officer, 2018
Aimed at GCSE/A level/KS5 BTEC and equivalent students to gain experience of working with professionals on stage, presenting their devised texts before exams.
Springboards is our 30-minute Drama platform for GCSE, KS5 BTEC NVQ, Creative Media and A level students. Up to four schools will take part on the night. Technical rehearsals and final performances are fully supported by our professional technicians.
“This project has definitely helped me more while approaching literature because I now understand the pieces better due to having acted them. It would be brilliant if poetry was taught using Drama more often as I believe that it makes the poems so much more accessible.”
Student, Reepham High School, StageLit 2016