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Oldham Coliseum Theatre’s partnership with housing association brings World War II to life in local school

31 January 2018

Children from Silver Springs Academy in Stalybridge, Tameside have been taking part in interactive World War 11 workshops run by Oldham Coliseum Theatre, as part of the partnership programme with Jigsaw Group.

Through the immersive workshops run over 2 days, pupils from year 6 have been discovering what life was like during World War II, focusing on key themes such as evacuation, the front, at home and conscription.  The workshops have been developed in line with the current curriculum, centring on developing team work, empathy and literacy skills.  At the end of each workshop, pupils treated their family members to a one-time performance based on their learning.

Lily Moss (10), pupil at Silver Springs Academy said: “I really enjoyed it – more than I expected to!”

Kaila Kirkham (11), also a pupil at Silver Springs Academy said: “I have really enjoyed today a lot! I might do a bit of acting myself one day.”

Deborah Mason, Principal at Silver Springs Academy said: "At Silver Springs, we believe that children learn best when teaching methods are highly engaging, which is why we jumped at the chance to take part in this curriculum enrichment project.  This immersive experience has not only enabled the children to learn about the events of World War 11 but also to understand how the war made people feel and enabled them to relate this to their own lives."


Sarah Eastaff, the Coliseum’s Learning and Engagement Officer: Education, said: “We’re really excited to be delivering these workshops at Silver Springs Academy. They utilise drama in education approaches to engage children in thought provoking, immersive learning experiences.”

The housing group and theatre have been collaborating with each other on various initiatives for the past three years and have now extended their partnership for a further three years, allowing them to build on the foundations they have already laid in providing new opportunities to New Charter’s communities.

In the past year the Coliseum has enabled residents from New Charter Homes’ Somerset House, an extra care scheme for people with learning disabilities, to produce their own theatre pieces and perform them on stage in front of an audience. They have also worked with Aksa Homes’ women’s group on several occasions, including workshops with comedian Sajeela Kershi to develop ‘Mother Tongues from Farther Lands’, which was performed by established actors including Oldham’s own Shobna Gulati in venues across the country as part of Southbank Centre’s Alchemy Festival.  One of the on-going highlights of the partnership is the Coliseum’s Teaching Theatre programme, which offers NEETs (young people who are not currently in education, employment or training) the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in a range of skills including lighting, sound design, marketing and customer service, and offers support in finding further education or employment opportunities.