An innovative pilot drama project by Aberdeen Performing Arts (APA) has led to a £43,000 Big Lottery grant to provide theatre activities for 140 primary school age youngsters in the city.
As a result of the funding, APA have appointed youth theatre development worker Laura Cherry to establish the new project in three city primary schools - Kittybrewster, Woodside and Hanover.
“I am setting up lunchtime/after school drama clubs in all three of these schools for p4 - p7,” explained Laura. “I will also be spending time during the class day helping teach drama through the curriculum as part of their drama/expressive arts, which varies from p1 - p7.
As the clubs can only take a maximum of 25 pupils, she has been running taster sessions in the three primaries – Kittybrewster and Hanover Street last week and Woodside on Thursday (October 11).
Interested pupils will then have the chance to join the clubs, which will start the first week after the October break.
And shortly after, APA are to set up a Saturday morning drama club, again for primary school age youngsters.
“In January, I will be setting up and running APA Create which will run from the studio at His Majesty’s Theatre,” said Laura. “These Saturday classes will be for eight -12 year olds and we're hoping the primary clubs will inspire youngsters in this age group to further explore and enjoy take part in the performing arts.”
The funding will also enable APA to run youth activities in the school holidays within the city communities as well as their own venues.
The original six-month-long pilot project, sponsored by Aberdeen Harbour Board and run by APA’s Creative Learning wing and Aberdeen City Council’s Arts Education teams, was based at Kittybrewster and Hanover Street Schools.
It set out to create new opportunities for the youngsters to expand their knowledge and understanding of theatre with workshops in the schools and at The Lemon Tree, led by performing arts professionals.
For two classes, the project culminated with a performance of their own production at The Lemon Tree Studio in front of each other and an invited audience of parents and teachers as well as a celebratory trip to His Majesty’s Theatre for workshops, lunch and a backstage tour.
"The Creative Learning team at APA are passionate about the development of our youth theatre programme and so the opportunity to extend our work out into the community and to include primary school aged children is hugely exciting,” said APA Creative Learning manager Johanna Duncan.
“As well as working closely with the schools involved the project is also about reaching out into the wider communities in which these schools are situated.
“We were delighted that the Big Fund Young Start Programme were so supportive of our aspirations to make arts activity accessible to young people across the city.”