Arts Award Bronze and playwriting

Arts Award Bronze and playwriting

Picture of Guest Writer

BY: Guest Writer
14 Aug 2023

Clare Soulsby, a special needs teacher at Ashmount School in Loughborough tells us about their Bronze Arts Award project where a group of young people generated ideas for a play which honoured their voices, boosted their self-belief and enabled them to achieve a nationally recognised qualification…

I became Art Coordinator and Arts Award lead in September 2022, after returning from maternity leave. I attended Bronze & Silver adviser training and began delivering Arts Award to the students in our school. We have also successfully delivered Discover & Explore at the school with some of the primary aged students.

This year we trialled our first Bronze Arts Award with Key Stage 4 pupils. This involved seven students creating a play that was performed and filmed. It was a fantastic opportunity for our students to gain a national qualification in addition to recognising their ability to playwright. The students worked in collaboration with 14/48 and Attenborough Arts Centre.

14/48 is a speed theatre festival where 14 plays are written, directed, scored and performed within 48 hours. The students worked with a local theatre maker, Stuart Reid to create a 10-minute play which was then performed. To make this more interesting, the director and two actors were picked out of a hat at random. The actors and directors then had a day to devise the play; with props, music and costumes, which they then performed to students from three special needs schools at the Attenborough Arts Centre.

Creative ideasPicture 4

The seven students taking part in the project had to work together as a team to create a play for two actors that would make sense and be fun and enjoyable for the audience. The students came up with some incredibly creative ideas and emotional stories, which were valuable to making the play come to life. The main ideas revolved around trying to steal gems. However, for each room they entered, they encountered problems preventing them from getting to the gems. For example, one of the problems was laser beams. Stuart praised the students saying, ‘the students could be so valuable in all aspects of theatre and film making as they have so much to offer.’

Bronze Arts Award enabling confidence

IMG_9525For Part A (explore the arts as a participant), the students worked with Stuart to create a mind map of ideas for the play. They acted out different parts with props to see if it would work and then used the ideas to create the play and give it a name. They researched Stuart’s arts practice, career and work for Part C (arts inspiration).

The students went to Attenborough Arts Centre for their Part B (explore the arts as an audience member), to see their play acted out live. They also watched two other plays from different schools. The students showed the film that had been produced to their class and reviewed the event.

The students worked together for Part D (arts skills share), to plan and deliver passing on the acting skill of mime (an element of the play they had written) to younger pupils at Ashmount School. The students excelled at this and it was amazing to see students that can otherwise be shy stand in front of their peers and the staff demonstrating their confidence in explaining to others how to mime.

Ideas coming to lifePicture5

This process showed us how much our students have to offer; not only in school but the world of arts. When working with students with special educational needs we are greatly aware that sometimes they feel as though their ideas may not be as valued as others. This experience allowed us to see the magic and joy in our pupil’s eyes when their ideas came to life in a film, which you can see here.

We finished the project with a celebratory award ceremony where families were invited in to see the students awarded with their framed Arts Award certificates. Lots of the parents told us that they were completely overwhelmed with the achievements of the young people, which many of them said they thought their child would never achieve. This whole process was a valuable and important experience for not only the students but their families too.

Following on from our successful completion of Bronze Arts Award, Ashmount School became a Trinity Champion Centre.

Images all by Ashmount School

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