The Almeida Theatre is taking the full production of one of its latest shows, Our Town, into two London secondary schools this November, reaching 500 students.
Laura Elsworthy, David Walmsley and Jessica Lester in Our Town (Credit: Marc Brenner)
The cast of the current run at the Almeida will perform at Dormers Wells High School in Ealing on 10 November and Cleeve Park School in Bexley on 17 November for students. Neither of the London boroughs housing the schools, Ealing and Bexley, has a professional theatre. Students attending performances will take part in pre-show workshops.
The performances will make up part of a wider six-week programme entitled ‘Your Town’, which will involve students telling stories of their own towns of Southall and Sidcup through exploring the idea of community and creating video content.
Almeida’s artistic director Rupert Goold said of the project: ‘The work that Almeida Projects does with schools and young people is enormously inspiring, and I am so glad that we are able to continue to find exciting ways to bring our work to more young people across London.’
For more information on the ‘Your Town’ project, visit www.almeida.co.uk/education/schools-and-education/your-town.
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Building guidelines to include requirements for drama spaces
For the first time, the department for education has included performance and rehearsal spaces within building guidelines for both primary and secondary schools.
The guidelines recommend that primary schools have a studio for rehearsals and a hall space capable of hosting performances. They also state that secondary schools should include a studio space, equipped with a storage area for performance materials such as prop, set and costumes. The guidelines will also endorse that the studio is located near to a multi-functioning hall with moveable seating for audiences.
The government organisation Education Funding Agency developed the new guidelines in consultation with the Theatres Trust. The recommendations will be used by building contractors developing new or existing schools.
Director of the Theatres Trust Mhora Samuel told the The Stage: ‘We need good facilities to be able to teach drama, but it goes far beyond teaching – it’s about placing theatre experiences at the heart of every child in school.’
The news comes as drama faces an uncertain future in schools when its place in the primary curriculum was thrown into doubt with its exclusion from the primary draft.