Case Study One
Cardboard City Theatre champions
Part One - working with Stanground Academy Peterborough
Cardboard Citizens has been making life-changing theatre with and for homeless people for 25 years. We create great theatre that makes a real and positive difference to our society and those living in its margins.
We are the UK's leading practitioners of the Theatre of the Oppressed methodology.
Part two - working with City College Students Peterborough
My Meta thinking a blog about Stanground college residency with Cardboard Citizens
My Meta thinking
A performance to the whole year group of year 10 students
Stanground Academy Peterborough March 4th 2016.
I liked the story being set in a school context. The cast wearing school uniform connected immediately with an audience of young people. The introduction set the tone really well providing the audience with some clear given boundaries. At the start they were restless to get going but I would say they were pretty well drawn to the story by scene 2. They were held by that story – because they didn’t fidget and they were leaning forward in their seats. The mix of content between the scientific facts about the brain and how that manifests itself is a really good basis for a piece of educational work. It was clear all the way through that making responsible decisions is the key message here, but it was never preached. At times there were teachers moving in and out that was the only break in concentration. The young people were engaged to the level that they made quiet polite audience jeers which were totally in keeping with the narrative & characters! The length of the play and the pace was key to keeping the action flowing and the actors did well to rise above the difficult acoustics of the theatre. The presentation board with the text / app communication provided a vehicle that later one of the student participants explored for himself.
The forum dialogue was quickly taken up. Suggestions came slowly from the floor but once the first person had stood and arrived on stage surviving comfortably, others were able to bring their perspectives. More male volunteers than female and all covered themselves with credit demonstrating independent courage in doing so. The actors were particularly sensitive to their needs and quickly established their trust. It became an interesting feature that the guys were happy to take the part of a female. The ideas presented by the students were all of value and worth considering. The facilitation of such an improvised situation takes great skills and we were given a master demonstration about how to develop that role and relationship with a large audience.
The adults in the room can also be learners and “we the adults” probably could have gone further in our offers or suggestions. There’s always a line about when to step in and for what reason? Teachers did not appear to see it as their role to be involved in the dialogue or discussion and that’s maybe an opportunity missed.
The Friday afternoon lasted nearly 2 hours which is a long while for young people to just sit in a seat. I have no doubt they did enjoy, engage and learn and will think about that experience again. They will be invited to self-select/apply to be part of a residency to work with the company with their own agenda and issues. We hope that it will not be difficult to choose young people who will benefit most from this experience in their lives both in and beyond the school gates. The relationship with the Company has been introduced to a wider audience in school than just the arts and it will be interesting to see how it develops.
Working to create a bespoke curriculum with City College students
UROCK is delivering the arts as a vehicle to improve confident self aware young people. We are using the arts to create a special place to consider all the following skills that will help young people to function successfully in society. All workshops are practical fun and engage everyone in devising participating and reflecting.
Skills that UROCK have introduced to students:
Pitch speaking & improve listening
Sorting & classifying
Teamwork Decision making
Explanations of purpose
Articulating why and developing opinion