Our First Youth Theatre Session of 2014!

January 25th, 2014 | Posted by Rachel - (0 Comments)

Thursday was the Youth Theatre’s first night back.  It was lovely to see everyone so delighted to see each other and made for a very fun evening session.  Despite the bad weather, we managed to get out into the dark outdoors for a vocal and physical warm up.  This term we are exploring dramatic ways to tell a story and we started with the idea of modernising traditional fairytales.  Our young people came up with some fabulous ideas and used a whole range of brilliant techniques to tell their stories. We saw some creative examples of physical theatre, playing multiple parts and narration. With their retellings of the Three Little Pigs, we saw tragedy, dark comedy and a hilarious TV spoof.

Recently, Sophie was asked to run a session for the Wakefield Creative Learning Network, based at The Hepworth Wakefield.  This network meets monthly, and is made up of primary, secondary and special education teachers, teaching assistants and artists who are interested in creative learning.  Sophie was asked to answer the enquiry question: “Pupil progress in creative subjects: how can you show progress when it’s not written?”.

During the two hour session Sophie focussed on examples of successful creative evaluation techniques that we have used in our various Growtheatre projects.  We discussed why taking ‘bad’ photos is useful, how post-it notes are the best thing to have in your pocket, learning journals, comic strips, learning walls and the successes of ‘interrupted progress’ in projects.  We shared learning and experiences within the group, laughed a lot and took home a load of practical ideas and inspiration.
“We really enjoyed your session this week… and we’d love to find a time to talk with you about further work at The Hepworth Wakefield”   Education team, Hepworth

Saturday 14 December

Free, Family Drama Workshop on

12.1.5 – 1.15

Come and join in the fun!

Collecting stories and memories of Ecclesall Woods

All day

Visit us on our stand outside the Woodland Discovery Centre, Ecclesall Woods and share your stories!

Growtheatre by Youth Theatre Member, Phoebe.

November 26th, 2013 | Posted by Rachel - (0 Comments)

When I first joined Growtheatre Youth Theatre I was scared because I didn’t really know many people. Now, I think I know everyone and feel more secure. I now know everyone is kind and we have a good laugh. Rachel and Sophie, who run Growtheatre, are kind, funny and help us with lots of different things.

A few weeks ago we played a fun game where we needed to improvise giving each other presents – Jess gave me a coffee machine and it made me laugh because it was supposed to be  birthday cake!!!!  My favourite game is called Huggy Trees, half us have to be trees and the other half have to be monkeys – it is exciting!

Sometimes Henk comes and does outdoor skills workshops with us. One of the things I have learnt is to use tools like loppers, saws and knives for whittling.  Working with Henk is fun because there are lots of things to do.

Altogether, Growtheatre is the best drama group ever!





November 19th, 2013 | Posted by Rachel - (0 Comments)

We have been learning how to tie knots over the last few weeks – some of our members get it really quickly and have been a great help to the rest of us who have got in a tangle!  Week 2 of knots found us really impressed to hear how everyone had learnt during the week to do a clove hitch!  Other members had taught themselves lots more knots!  We used our knots skills to make props and simple scenery from sticks and rope these were incorporated into great scenes.  Well done guys!



The Woodland Discovery Centre ran a fantastic day at the start of the October Half Term; it was called Feast In The Forest and there were lots and lots of fun outdoor activities and stalls. Growtheatre was there running making sessions – check out the fab bogarts made with clay and things from the woods and wooden picture frames made by children and parents who came to visit our stall.

We have a huge THANK YOU to our Growtheatre Youth Theatre member Emily and her friend Alfie who worked all day with us! They arrived at 8.30 in the morning and helped set up, went to gather berries, nuts, leaves etc. from Eccalsall Woods, helped to run the making sessions. They was superb at teaching children and adults how to make bogarts and their positive, helpful and friendly manner put many people at ease and were encouraged to get their hands mucky and get creative! WELL DONE EMILY AND ALFIE, WHAT STARS!

We also ran drama workshops with our youth theatre members and visitors to Feast In the Forest – they were a lot of fun and had people laughing and smiling. Thank you to everyone who came and supported us! A great day was had by all.

We had such a fun time tonight  – bringing together dramatic groups freezes, physical character work and status and throwing in a sprinkle of impending peril and doom!!! The results, were well observed, dramatic and, at times, hilarious!  Well done guys and Ruby… we loved it when you all got really dramatic too!



Our Youth Theatre Grows

October 11th, 2013 | Posted by Rachel - (0 Comments)

Since the last time I blogged after our first ever youth theatre session, we have grown!  We have been lucky enough to have several new young people join us and I have been delighted to see how well members are making friends and working together.  We have done 4 sessions now – all of them working both indoors and outdoors.  We have been working on drama skills, character building, vocal performance, improvisation and … drum roll… how to use knives, saws, loppers and axes with Henk!!!! There’s never a dull moment at Growtheatre!

On a more serious note:  at Growtheatre we work hard create an ethos based on the 3 Cs, that is Creativity, Consideration and Confidence.  We have talked about what that might and I have heard some thoughtful and, dare I say it, creative things like: “try and do old things in new ways”, “give everyone the space they need to do the best they can”, “encourage people”, “have a go”, “think differently” and “tell people they are doing well”.  Up until yesterday’s session (week 4), it has all felt like theory and then yesterday… the transformation happened and the 3 Cs were being actively practiced all evening!  The difference was tangible, the group felt more thoughtful, generous, considerate and more daring!  An amazing session with lots of risk taking and lots of support – well done guys!

Here are some photos of us working both indoors and out.


First Youth Theatre Session

September 19th, 2013 | Posted by Rachel - (0 Comments)

First night of Growtheatre’s Youth Theatre went fantastically – a lovely bunch of kids, with some very creative ideas. Here are 3 photos of what they got up to before in Ecclesall Woods before the sun went down! Looking forward to Henk Littlewood joining the group to do a tools session: knives, saws, loppers – kids can’t wait. Can’t wait to see everyone next week.

So, the Tinsley Nursery Infants project came and went… weeks 5 – 10 happened and were so busy I didn’t get to write about them!

It was fantastic working in the school with such lovely, responsive kids, and passionate teaching staff.

We really made a difference with the drama too!  At evaluation stage, what became clear was that the project worked in two very different ways:

1. For the children with limited English, it provided them with a safe space on a weekly basis to begin trying out their spoken English, and the shift in language acquisition was very marked. It went beyond speaking too, for many of the children, as they showed big improvements in their written work as well.

2. The space that drama offered in the classroom also allowed children who had more language to try their hand at directing.  This was a boost to their leadership skills and their ability to interact in a group. We took the children’s ideas and made a short show based on what we’d done in class, and all the children performed to their parents and to the rest of the school.  They showed clear improvements in their ability to perform, to stay still on stage, to project their voices and in just having the confidence to be out in front of their families and peers.

The teaching staff have reported to me that they are now all using drama more confidently in the classroom, and have repeated many of the simple exercises that we learnt together, changing the context to new topics and themes in their classrooms.

So, job done.  It was a steep learning curve for me too (particularly learning how to use drama exercises with as little language as possible so that all the children could access them), and one I enjoyed a lot!

Onto the next project…


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