“It was utterly breathtaking! My class were buzzing that they recognised their writing in it and it was all they could talk about.”
Young playwrights saw their words brought to life when a troupe of actors visited the Academy.
Over the last five months, 50 Y5 pupils have been taking part in Unlocking Potential, an innovative project run by Mortal Fools that uses drama to boost attainment in literacy.
This year’s production, ‘Open the Door, is based on the theme of World War II. Professional actors together with actors from Mortal Fools’ flagship youth theatre performed the play, which was written using selected pieces of writing from the children.
Creative Learning Company, Mortal Fools, aims to use drama to give children real and tangible experiences, building their understanding of other people, increasing emotional intelligence and generating excitement.
Unlocking Potential is designed to support the development of the whole child, understanding that building motivation, confidence and aspirations will have a secondary effect of improving educational attainment
Mrs Cowie, primary literacy director at NCEA, said: “The children have seen firsthand the power of their writing, which inspired the script for a new play. They can now see a purpose behind their writing journey. The pride they experienced just could not have been created in an English lesson in the classroom!
“We now hope to harness this exciting energy, generated from the first phase of the project, and use it to ensure motivation remains high, as we embark on the Explore Arts Award, where the children will complete a portfolio of high-quality work.”
Mortal Fools artistic director, Kiz Crosbie, said: “Presenting the children’s writing as a professional piece of theatre gives a purpose to their writing beyond the classroom.”
“The best part about drama was that it was good fun and I learned a lot of new things. I used to think that I couldn’t be able to do something, like I couldn’t believe that I could do something like gymnastics or anything but they kind of told you to believe in yourself and not give up. I do loads of things now, I believe in myself more.”
Participant, aged 10, Unlocking Potential 2016 (interviewed a year after the project)
At the beginning of the project in 2016, 52% children were on target or above for writing – but at the end of the year, after the input from the drama project,
100% were on target or above!
Listen to children talking about last year’s ‘Space’ project: