Over the last 20 years, I've had the privilege of working with young people and offering support to their creativity. One of the barriers to creativity I've seen as children get older is a sense that it is for other people: "this isn't for people like me", is something I heard from children in care passing by a theatre. "I'm no good at writing" has been said to me many times in the classroom.
I wanted to try a new approach. Based on the topic of Africa, and following some topic learning, we followed a fairly simple path:
Class generated ideas about possible characters based on animals of Africa.
What could they want?
What might be a problem in getting what they want? How might they solve it?
A "cold" write - just mind vomit the words on the page without worrying about grammar, vocab, or structure.
What did you like? What didn't work?
Using a six-part structure we then developed the first story.
We then read them out-loud to kick start editing.
For this pilot programme, one story was picked to be developed with one-to-one support focusing on what the words were communicating. This one story (by Kacey Groocock) was then sent to actor and producer Tonia Daley-Campbell to read and record.
The plan is to develop this approach further and give more children the opportunity to work with professionals and hear their work!
Thanks to Badgerbrook Primary School and support from Neil Reading at Wolverhampton Arena Theatre and a massive thanks to Tonia Daley-Campbell.