Sorry for the lack of posts recently its been a pretty hectic few weeks full of work, work, sleep and then even more work!
For those of you who don’t know I am one of the founding members of Discovery Team Theatre and last week was the start of our regional tour around Derbyshire with our Theatre in Education piece ‘The Dilemmas of Pirates’. But before I start talking about that I’d probably better explain a bit more about Discovery Team and how we came to lucky enough to be touring our piece in our first few months.
In the beginning..
Before we became Discovery Team were brought together at Derby University during a second year applied drama module where we had to create a piece of Theatre in Education for local primary schools which we would then be assessed on. After thinking about issues that were affecting the community in Derby we created ‘The Dilemmas of Pirates’, a fully interactive piece aimed at years 5 and 6, which gets children to consider moral dilemmas and the implications of their actions. In our third year we were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to expand on our piece and added a workshop alongside it. After seeing the reactions from teachers and children and with encouragement from lecturers we decided to turn our passion into a career and on January 1st this year Discovery Team Theatre was officially launched!
What is ‘The Dilemmas of Pirates’ about?
Well as im sure you’ve already guessed it involves pirates. The children are invited to go on a journey with our pirate crew led by Captain Jamie and meet characters along the way who have had possessions stolen from them by various pirates on board the ship. The children are then tasked with making moral choices on whether to give the things back, directing the action with their decision-making, and seeing the consequences of their choices played out. In the workshop the children look deeper into what can make people want to join a gang, how it can affect others and who they can talk to if they find themselves in a similar situation.
The piece and workshop look at the impact of gang related anti social behavior on both individuals and the community and how children can take a stand against peer pressure.
What about the tour?
Last year due to the efforts of Phillipa our fabulous head of funding and grants, we secured £16,000 in funding from the Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner which has enabled us to go on our first regional tour. Over our month long tour we will be performing in schools all over Derby city and Derbyshire, reaching over 1200 children.
This week was our first week, with 13 performances to around 300 children and I can say 100% that it was the best week of my professional life to date. Going to work and knowing that you are making a difference no matter how small, is a great feeling. In some of the schools we visited gang related behaviour is a real issue within the community and even at an early age some of the children we have performed to have already been exposed to this. As well as our performance we also hand out a teachers pack which enables the class to delve deeper into the issues looked at in Pirates after we leave the school.
Hearing the positive responses from both the children and teachers during and after the performance validates to me that not only this piece but drama as a whole can make a positive impact on children’s lives. Its great to see the children go on a journey throughout the piece and really thinking about how their actions can have consequences and affect others in a way they may have not before. A few weeks after one of our first ever performances we found out that a classroom gang had decided to disband after our performance as it made them realise that they may not have been acting in the best way. Knowing that the children have taken in the message of our piece and made a positive change as a result is a great incentive to get up at 6:30am and go to work in the morning!
We’re off this week due to half term but continue our tour on the 24th February until 14th March.