The Devon Arts In Schools Initiative (DAISI) worked with Devon Youth Theatre to offer the Bronze Arts Award to five young people taking part in a Devon Youth Theatre project. The project was put together by DAISI in collaboration with the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary Heritage Learning Resource.
Five young people aged 14-16 signed up to the scheme. They each took acting roles in the production of a new play, and attended other workshops in order to develop their skills further and gain more evidence for their portfolios.
The project centered around the production of a new play entitled ‘Blackouts, Bobbies and Bombs’ - which followed the lives of local people in World War Two. Participants took part in two theatre devising weekends in January where they contributed to the development of the script. They then attended an intensive rehearsal phase during February half term before embarking on a three-show tour of the play.
For their arts apprenticeship, participants took part as workshop assistants at an ‘Oral History Day’, designed to gather stories from local people. These stories were then turned into drama for the final performance.
Each student’s portfolio included programmes, tickets and posters as well as their own reviews of plays they had seen with comments on the set, lighting, acting, props and costumes. Many of the group conversations were filmed and then submitted as evidence of sharing with others.
To facilitate the project, DAISI employed Sherrie Spencer, an independent Arts Award adviser who attended occasional sessions. In addition, Devon Youth Theatre Director Jon Croose trained as an Arts Award adviser in order to support the Arts Award process.
The Arts Award group met regularly with their adviser to share reviews, information and presentations about music concerts or theatre shows they had seen.
Adviser Jon Croose says,
‘the Arts Award gave the young people a chance to focus on their development as all round participants in the arts: as performers, reviewers, arts leaders and workshop assistants. It gave them confidence, supported the development of the group and gave them a social network which has endured beyond the project itself’.
‘One of our students chose to run a workshop with the group for his arts apprenticeship. He had never done anything like this before and was very nervous. His workshop was fun, practical and energetic and he got great feedback from the group. You could see his confidence boost from the support he received from the rest of the group, which was really rewarding.’
Jon Croose, adviser
DAISI worked with a number of arts organisations, including Exeter Phoenix Centre, the Octagon Theatre in Okehampton and the Devon and Cornwall Constabulary Heritage Learning Resource.
‘Being an Arts Award adviser is a great way of passing on the rewards of a creative life in the arts to the next generation of artists’
Jon Croose, adviser