Peterborough Creative Residency - Week 2

Posted on: 23 May 2016

Written by: Vicky Ream

For the next instalment from our creative residency programme, we hear from Diane Goldsmith our artistic liaison for the Peterborough Residency, who has written about the second week of the programme working with Year 10 students, in partnership with Stanground Academy and UROCK Creative.

This residency is part of our two year programme of national creative residency projects that aim to engage local artists, homeless and vulnerable residents, and social sector staff to spread the art of Forum Theatre throughout the UK, expanding access to the arts and strengthening vulnerable communities. Our Peterborough Creative Residency follows a highly successful first creative residency project conducted last month in Manchester in collaboration with local housing associations and their residents.

Day 5

We begin with a group ritual sharing of how we feel. It's impressive that today we wait for no one and some of our students have the confidence to share they have mixed feelings about performing. "Excited and scared" does that go together I ask myself? Of course it does when you try new things, is my answer in my head! Today we are introduced to even more new group game activities. The students are eager to have ownership about what they want to do and those who suggest they are still tired appear to wake up with a smile on their faces.

There is an energy in the room that's hard to describe:

Schools might say "that they are all on task"

Artists might "feel that flow they are creating"

I just think if we keep it simple, they showed huge respect for Tony and River and what they have brought into the room. On one occasion only did the director need to display impatience as the time ran away with us. Interestingly it did have the required impact & refocus the group.

So that is learning, life skills theatre or whatever we want to call it, but it's progress!

I think Tony is a master at asking the right questions, at the right time. He sets the group off to run their own rehearsal, provoking actors responses only when there is a question to answer or something obscure that needs clarifying. I reflected watching this happen that as adults sometimes we meddle or try to fix stuff when actually the young people are "On it, dealing with it for themselves." I know that's a brave thing to say in a school, but hey I have 35 years teaching experience and i know I was guilty of that in my younger days.

At the time of writing this is 7 hours after the project ended, but my head is still buzzing with this experience? Are others affected in this way too? Are we all still wondering, remembering how this went?

How do we keep this alive? Can this intensive experience change young people or at least add value & confidence?

The performances were great but the process was clear for all to see, young people had gained the "knowledge & understanding of an art form that they were able to deliver & own" - clear educational outcomes.

It's been a pleasure to be inside the circle, part of the team, with young people who have accepted me as a stranger and worked with me as colleagues. I hope to continue these relationships with school and company and celebrate what we have that's best in Peterborough.

With thanks to

Arts Council England Lottery funded