As week one of Splash comes to a close, we caught up with Jake, our Theatre in Schools Graduate Producer.

What is Splash?
Splash is our pilot residency programme. We want to interrogate how the arts can meet the needs of schools in a relevant and necessary way. It’s about  listening, collaborating and creating with children and teachers on their terms.This summer an artistic team are residents in a primary school in Derby exploring how we can use creativity, activism and voice to build resilience in Yr5 students in preparation for SATS and their transition into Year 7.

Who is the artistic team?
The artistic team is made up of three midlands-based artists, including me. The other artists on the project are Alex Whiteley and Mellow Baku.

A little bit more about me
I’m  Theatre Centre’s graduate intern theatre in school’s producer. I’ve worked in the young people’s sector almost exclusively since graduating from uni. Prior to work at Theatre Centre, I’ve worked as a director, facilitator and actor for young people, touring schools across the midlands and Essex.

Alex Whiteley, Splash Facilitator
Alex has experience as a director, and brings her experience of working with students with English as a second language to the project. She’s also involved as a facilitator of large participant groups with Shakespeare Schools Festival.

Mellow Baku, Splash Songwriter
Mellow has 15-years experience as a performer, songwriter and facilitator and will be co-creating a song with the Yr5 students and facilitating the creation of an anthem for their class. Mellow regularly works with young people making music and songs drawing inspiration from Jazz, Blues and Soul movements.

Can you tell us more about week one?
In our first week in Redwood School we’ve done a lot of learning and exploring with the young people.  The first two days were spent with the artistic team getting to know the young people and what they care about and how they might achieve a better world. Suggestions came in the form of being nicer to each other, exercising regularly, travelling the world and being accepting to all we meet, oh and that no one should have to do maths or fractions…The week then lead onto taking these strengths to start to pen an anthem of self-belief and strength to carry into their last year of primary school before everything changes and they find themselves in ‘big’ school’. All the artistic team have been overwhelmed by the resilience shown by the young people, and the fact all 90 young people have all written their own individual song is something that they should hold their head high and be proud of. The power of the arts in education can be demonstrated in the very fact that the young people are wanting to share what they’ve learnt with their parents, teachers, carers and guardians. As a sneak peak to the sharing on the final day to the adults, the young people will not only be sharing the song themselves but teaching it to their adults, so they can sing along too.

What are your highlights so far?
By far one of the best highlights of the week was having a young person with additional needs go from point blank not wanting to be involved, to actively going out of their way to participate, using music and the arts to support their expression. There was hysterical laughter and smiles all round.

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