Pupils given a taste of life working in theatre production

15 January 2020

Pupils have been learning that there’s no business like show business after an inspiring visit to the Storyhouse in Chester.

As part of the Council’s Raising Aspirations Project, 150 pupils from Westminster, William Stockton and St Marys of the Angels primary schools in Ellesmere Port have been given a taste of life behind the scenes at the city’s multi award-winning cultural centre.

The project aims to instil and inspire career ambitions in youngsters in the borough by introducing them to educational opportunities, real life workplaces and professionals, following their initial learning in the classroom. It has been successful in recent years in Winsford, where children have visited workplaces such as Manchester Airport, Park Royal Hotel and the Hut Group.

Staff at Storyhouse offered pupils an insight into jobs and careers within the creative and design industry which are essential to the running of Storyhouse such as costume designers, stage designers, props, sound and lighting. 

Westminster Community Primary School were invited to watch the production of Peter Pan and then afterwards given a back stage tour by the production managers.

Some of the schools also took part in a workshop with the sales and marketing team to learn about the techniques used to promote Storyhouse and its shows.

Emma Dunn, deputy head teacher of Westminster Community Primary School, said: “This is the second year we have been part of the Raising Aspirations Project. We view it as a unique and innovative way to support our children to learn about the world of work through first-hand experience and engagement with employers.  

“We want our children to broaden their horizons, understand what they could achieve and raise their aspirations for their future. We want our pupils to have a clear understanding of the link between achieving well at school and getting into an interesting job and career that is not bound by social mobility and gender stereotypes. 

“Through the programme, children expand their knowledge and understanding of the world of work, the types of jobs there are and different career paths. This week the children had the opportunity of a backstage tour at the Storyhouse theatre, after watching the fantastic production of Peter Pan, with the producer to learn about all of the hidden creative and design jobs in a theatre. The children were absolutely fascinated to learn how the creative team bring a show to life.” 

Alex Clifton, artistic director at Storyhouse, said: “It was wonderful to welcome so many bright, inquisitive and engaged pupils to our building. We already know from our Young Leaders programme that our borough is bursting with young talent; Storyhouse is here to create opportunities within the industry. We are thrilled to be able to collaborate on such an important project.” 

Cllr Nicole Meardon, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “There are lots of exciting and diverse careers out there in the world of work. Our Raising Aspirations Project is doing a great job of introducing our young people to these numerous opportunities. The Storyhouse is an example of how there are so many different careers that can be based in one great, local workplace. We hope these children will be inspired by their visits, and have a greater focus to their learning for the remainder of their school days.”

The Raising Aspirations Project is part of the Council’s Building Futures Programme in Ellesmere Port. It will become even more beneficial to young people if other industries or colleges are willing to offer their support by introducing the children to the world of further education and employment. To register your interest, contact Janet Kolita on janet.kolita@cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk.


 

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