February 11th, 2015 | Posted by Rachel in Uncategorized - ()

Much fun was had in our last Junior Group session creating frozen pictures of disaster stories!  The group is working really well together and is doing a brilliant job of learning fundamental drama and performance skills.

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In our first term together, the Junior Group are spending some time during each session learning about basic tool work.  We started with long branches and the members learnt how to use loppers to cut them into a stick of required length.  In this session they are learning how to whittle – first they start with peelers and when they have gained the skills they will move onto using a whittling knife.  Watch this blog spot over the next few weeks to see how they will change a branch/stick into an amazing prop to perform with!

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Fire and Snow

January 23rd, 2015 | Posted by Rachel in Uncategorized - ()

Fantastic youth theatre sessions last night… Intermediate group was enjoyably crazy: creating amazing stories with shadows, fire & snow! 

New member, Adrian, said this was the best session yet because we were outside all evening – just goes to show that the dark, snow and cold doesn’t need to stop you having fun and making theatre!

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First Junior Growtheatre Session

January 15th, 2015 | Posted by Rachel in Uncategorized - ()

It was lovely to start our new Juniors Group tonight – everyone who came was friendly and full of the fun. We were impressed by how they all got stuck in and had a go at everything!

Our older group were challenged to devise and perform outside in near darkness – lots of great lighting opportunities with torches – see pics!

Great sessions both groups!




Youth Theatre started again last night and we had a fun packed Bring A Friend session – we loved meeting your friends and were impressed how they threw themselves into everything. Everyone came out buzzing.

New year’s resolution – bring a better camera to the session… here are a few photos, not good quality I am afraid but capturing good quality performances!




Light Up The Hill

January 9th, 2015 | Posted by Rachel in Uncategorized - ()

Growtheatre has had an amazing time participating in the Wincobank Light Up The Hill event.  Working with film maker Ellie Ragdale, young people from Wincobank and the Roots Of Iron Project a brief history of Wincobank Hill was created as an awesome animation film.  It was projected onto Sheffield’s Bling Bus and shown on top of the hill as part of the Light Up The Hill Celebrations.  We think that the young film makers did a fantastic job – here is the film!

Light up the Hill from Ellie Ragdale on Vimeo.

Theatre In The Woods Summer Course

August 5th, 2014 | Posted by Rachel in Uncategorized - ()

Here are the photos of our 3 day course for kids aged 9 – 12 years!  We had so much fun working in the woods in glorious shady sunshine.  The group was fantastic and we had a ball – I hope that the photos tell the story!


Congratulations to all our Youth Theatre Members for putting on such a fantastic show for family members and friends of Growtheatre.  It was AMAZING!  Based on the stories we had gathered from our work with Toby and the archaeology students, our members devised, wrote, designed and rehearsed a promenade show in Ecclesall Woods.

It had comedy and laughs, time travel, magic and ‘very important archaeological facts’ mystery, intrigue tragedy and death, riots and Elizabeth ruffs, a prehistoric hunt and lots of audience participation!  Audience members were full of praise and delight and we were told it was better than going to the IMAX cinema!

Our young designers and actors did themselves proud with amazing costumes and props and memorable and strong performances – well done to you all!

Enjoy the pictures!

Yesterday Growtheatre was working in the woods with the lovely Education Team from Ecclesall Woods and Y4 pupils from Carterknowle Junior School. They were learning about the Iron Age Hill Fort in the woods and settlements. Check out the fantastic models they made of hill forts out of natural materials. In the afternoon I ran a drama session where we ‘built and lived’ in a settlement. The kids were friendly, creative, enthusiastic and a joy to be around! The whole day took place outdoors with sunshine peaking through the trees and bluebells as far as the eye could see. The torrential downpour started a minute after we had finished! Work doesn’t get much better than that.

Archaeology meets Theatre

May 1st, 2014 | Posted by Rachel in Uncategorized - ()

The Youth Theatre have loved working with archaeologist, Toby Pillatt and students from the University Of Sheffield and Toby has kindly agreed to share his experiences in our blog.

Over the past two months I’ve been working with students from the University of Sheffield to help Growtheatre learn about and dramatise aspects of Ecclesall Wood’s rich history. One area we have been focussing on is that of the enigmatic ‘Q-pits’ – Q-shaped earthworks that can be seen dotted throughout the woods. These were used from the 16th to 18th century to create whitecoal, a form super-dried wood used as a fuel for lead smelting.

We asked the children to develop characters associated with the Q-pits. These might be people from past, such as wood colliers and their wives, gamekeepers and outlaws, or they might be people from the present: archaeologists and their apprentices. I found it quite challenging to draw the line between ensuring the characters remained grounded in facts and letting the children’s abundant, often slightly zany, creativity shine through. Indeed, it was particularly interesting and amusing to see how the children’s archaeologists referenced myself!

This weekend these activities came together at the Ecclesall Woods Spring Open Day. Whilst the students built their own experimental Q-pit, the children performed in character, describing the process of making whitecoal and, hopefully, giving the audience an insight into woodland industry in the 18th century. Given the short time the children had to practice the roles, I think the result was superb and hugely entertaining.

Overall, I have been really impressed by the way the children have learnt about the past, and then used that new knowledge to spark their imaginations. It’s been really exciting collaboration to be involved in, and I hope to continue working on similar projects in the future.

Toby Pillatt