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STEP Festival 2006
Schools and the arts in Southwark, London - 3–14 July 06.
Thirty Southwark venues and theatre companies are taking part in STEP 2006. It brings together the education work of Southwark theatres with local schools.
The third annual STEP Festival (Southwark Theatres Education Partnerships) runs from 3-14 July 06. Performances and workshops will take place across the borough at site-specific venues, theatres, arts centres and in schools. The theme of the festival is Steps to Writing, where projects have been designed with the written word in mind. The aim is to inspire young people, activate their imaginations and give them the skills and confidence to be able to write.
Councillor Lorraine Zuleta, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure & Sports at Southwark Council says 'We hope Southwark pupils will thoroughly enjoy the experience and be inspired to get writing themselves.' STEP has developed to introduce year-round activities such as the Drama Champions project. Festival Director Aimee Forrester says 'We have started to focus on more long term projects, and have sowed the seeds for a number of projects that we hope will continue in the new school year.' Although the focus remains on the festival, the longer-term projects have assisted in STEP delivering cultural entitlement to young people in Southwark.
One such project is theatre company The Lions Part, which will be touring schools performing ‘Stand up Shakespeare – Write Up!’. Children are invited to choose words that attract or challenge them using scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. The idea is to get children to understand and enjoy Shakespearean language and have confidence to do creative writing.
Selected schools in Southwark will take part in a week of workshops to explore and develop Box Clever Theatre Company’s new play ‘Dirty Kissing’. Written by Writer-in-Residence Michael Wicherek, the project will feature four days of interactive script development with small groups of students working with professional actors, a director and writer, to develop a piece of new writing.
Re-Write involves a group of young people removing the problems surrounding asylum and refuge. It is delivered in partnership with Southwark Refugee Artist Network and includes performance and workshops in schools.
About 80% of the workshops and performances are for young people and teachers - but there are some performances for the public. Step Out! features a large-scale outdoor theatre piece directed by the Steam Industry and performed by nearly 150 local school children. They have done 3 weeks of workshops helping children and teachers to learn about making theatre outdoors. They combine specially made props and costumes with theatre skills to produce (hopefully) a multi-dimensional theatrical experience.
Theatre Company Bold & Saucy is working with a group of young people from Willowbank Pupil Referral Unit to develop a site-specific piece about their environment.
Southwark Playhouse joins local schools with HMS Belfast veterans to perform a new production. It celebrates reunion and homecoming, and the amalgamation of two generations. In preparation for this project, St Joseph’s Primary and Aylwin Girls School have listened to stories from veterans of the Korean War, and slept on HMS Belfast for a night.
London Bubble visit a range of Year 6 classes in Southwark to capture their thoughts, ideas, anxieties and hopes concerning the transition from primary to secondary school. These ideas will feed back into the rehearsal room, for a piece of theatre based on responses. The finished piece tours local primary schools in July 06, performed in forum style, a technique which allows audience members to freeze the action. They then step onstage, taking the part of one of the characters to offer alternative story outcomes. The forum technique gives students the confidence to play an active role in the shaping of each scenario - and develops their understanding of dealing with the complex emotions and situations surrounding transition.
Organisations taking part include Oval House, London Bubble, The Young Vic, The Old Vic, Blue Elephant Theatre, and Southwark Playhouse, Southwark Mysteries, Crying in the Wilderness and Tell Tarra. Initiatives to encourage more people to be part of the festival including STEP Young Critics Project, STEP Work Experience project and the Drama Champions Training Programme.
(c) Maria Tedeska 2006
The STEP Festival 3-14 July 06. Full details - email email@example.com - tel 020 7525 3602 - http://www.southwark.gov.uk/stepfestival
Fringe Report (c) Fringe Report 2002-2013