“We have had excellent feedback from both staff and parents in schools participating in Plays in the Playground, and have been hugely impressed by the quality of all the performances which we have attended. Wells Festival of Literature has been delighted that the funds contributed by them to the series of events you arranged have been so creatively and efficiently used. It is particularly exciting that some of the performances have had active participation from parents of pupils. The project appears to have been an enormous success and it’s excellent news that you are aiming to expand”
Wells Festival of Literature, Funder
We are busy developing plans for the next exciting phase to Plays in the Playground: All the World’s Our Playground.
This project will bring together six Shepton Mallet primary schools bringing high-quality theatre into playgrounds, public spaces and schools. Reaching 900 students, 2000 family members and over 1500 Shepton Mallet residents at public events.
We will be bringing some of the South Wests most exciting and innovative theatre companies for young people to Shepton Mallet and the project will culminate in a magical performance at St Paul’s Junior School site in March 2020.
Partner Schools in the Project are:
Bowlish Infant School (Lead School)
Shepton Mallet Infant School
St Paul’s CofE (VE) Junior School
Stoke St Michael’s
St Aldhelm’s School
All the World’s Our Playground will work in four key phases:
Phase 1: Plays in the Playground
High calibre performances in playgrounds and schools
Deepening relationship with companies and expanding range
900 students, 2000 family members access performances
Phase 2: Plays in the Town
Bringing amazing theatre to town centre venues and spaces in Shepton Mallet including summer performances in Collett Park supported by Shepton Mallet Town Council
Building networks in schools through a youth programming board
Phase 3: Plays in our Imagination
Young people programming work and understanding the creative process
Shadow puppetry performances in schools and town centre
Teacher CPD visit to Bristol Puppetry Festival
Author visiting schools to open up creative process of creating a story arc funded by Literature Works
Developing student storyline for March 2020 production
Phase 4: All the World’s Our Playground
Creative performing arts and shadow puppetry workshops for students and community
The project will culminate in an immersive festival at St Paul’s school site featuring all 6 schools with a range of shadow puppetry, creative performances and displays in windows – the show will be a promenade event with the storyline created by schools.
This will be complemented by a selection of high calibre professional theatre showcased at the school and in the town centre – the youth panel will select and commission these companies.
The performance / Celebration Event
This will be devised and created by students in Shepton with support from theatre professionals. This will take the form of a promenade performance with different sections around the site to explore – some led by students, some by professional companies, some installation – through drama, dance, song and visual arts. Windows will be decorated with shadow puppets created by the students and lit up.
As part of developing the performance students will be asked about
- Their attitudes to Shepton Mallet
- What makes them proud of Shepton Mallet
- What / who they love in Shepton Mallet
- What they would change
- If they could go anywhere where would they go – another county / another world / another time
The Story Concept
The performance itself will tell the story of a young girl from Shepton Mallet who wants to travel and experience the world.
She follows the light out of Shepton into the world (all the children’s magic spaces). But when she gets there she realises something is lacking. Returns home to find what she needed was here all along with a shadow puppet tour around Shepton (exploring buildings, history, social history, people etc)
The story and worlds it uncovers will be the students’ creations. They will also share the things that are special to them about the town and in the process will share some of Shepton Mallet’s history.
We are currently fundraising for All the World’s Our Playground which we hope will commence in March 2019.
We are very grateful to Shepton Mallet Town Council, Literature Works and Wells Literature Festival for their support of our work and financial commitment. We have a bid to the Arts Council pending and we are very interested in working with local sponsors and artists to support this programme.