HULL Truck Theatre has designed a city-wide learning programme to be launched on Tuesday (2/2/2021), in response to schools not reopening until March 8 at the earliest.
Recognising the mounting pressure on parents, carers and teachers to keep students engaged through home schooling, Hull Truck @ Home School will run throughout February, providing work for 20 freelance writers, composers and actors.
Introducing young audiences to drama and theatre-making with a glimpse “behind the scenes” of the creative industry, the specialist programmes will engage primary and secondary school learners, helping to harness both literacy and drama skills.
Key Stage 1 and 2 students – aged five to 11 – will have access to a twice-weekly “drop” of video content and downloadable printable learning resources, every Tuesday and Thursday, that can be accessed via a dedicated area on the Hull Truck website.
The Create & Play primary learning programme of eight ten-minute online drama lessons has been written specially for each Key Stage audience. Available on-demand, the lessons can be accessed at any time after the publication date and incorporated into weekly lesson plans.
Key Stage 1 resources will include content, exercises and activities centred around famous children’s stories, such as The Three Billy Goats Gruff.
Key Stage 2 will cover subjects ranging from storytelling to stand-up and poetry, and among those delivering the sessions will be Nicola Stephenson (Mrs Hubble, from the BBC’s The Worst Witch) and Hull Truck regular Amy Thompson (from Channel 5’s Milkshake!).
Hull Truck also will be working with Hull secondary school pupils and teachers to produce an original soap opera, Consequences, set in Hull during lockdown.
Writers, actors and a Hull Truck director will work with students to generate ideas, write scripts and guide direction, culminating in the production of a 25-minute weekly episode to be aired on Hull Truck’s YouTube channel every Friday at 5pm.
The project will comprise of 12 sessions, with two-hour classes taking place every day from Monday to Thursday. Classes will consist of drama exercises, dramatic writing, coaching and directing actors.
Janthi Mills-Ward, Hull Truck’s executive director, says:“We understand and empathise with the challenges facing teachers, parents and the city’s young people, which is why as a key cultural contributor within the local community we felt passionate about stepping up to offer our support, creating something relevant, creative and engaging.
“The grant we received from Arts Council England as part of the Cultural Recovery Fund in October 2020 has been instrumental in ensuring we can deliver a project of this nature, vitally keeping our local communities connected.”
Janthi adds: “Although we’re currently unable to reopen our doors to welcome audiences back to see work on-stage, we have been able to repurpose our creativity through designing a city-wide learning programme that will benefit Hull’s young people and teachers.
“The content builds on key skills such as literacy, with an injection of theatre and drama. We’re also proud that this project has enabled us to support the creative industry, as we’ve employed 20 freelancers to support the delivery of the project, including writers, composers and actors.
“Our Youth Theatre provision continues to be delivered weekly via the powers of Zoom. We have made these sessions free for participants for the rest of the term, using the donations kindly gifted by audiences who enjoyed Prince Charming’s Christmas Cracker. This creative platform offers young people a much-needed outlet for escapism and some fun with their peers.”
Among the Hull secondary schools that have signed up to take part in the soap opera project are Boulevard Academy, Sirius North Academy, Ron Dearing UTC and Archbishop Sentamu Academy.
Annie Cooper, head of English at Boulevard Academy, says: “As a school, we are always looking for amazing opportunities for our students and so we jumped at the chance to be involved.
“Such an exciting project would always be a welcome addition to our English and creative arts curriculum, but it is especially important at the moment, when there are so few opportunities for students to be involved in creative activities in the wider world.
“This is a great chance for our students to experience the wonderful world of theatre and develop their writing and creative talents alongside professionals; I know they are going to find it immensely rewarding.”
If you are educating from home and want to use the Create & Play learning resources but have limited access to a computer or printing facilities, please contact Hull Truck Theatre via firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange for printed copies to be sent directly to your home address.
For more information on Hull Truck @ Home School, go to hulltruck.co.uk/home-school