The first thing our group wanted to do was, create a piece to go and help with women who had been mentally and physically abused by men. We were very aware that men are also abused by women, but as we were three women, we thought this would be a better route to go down. We wanted to go into refuges and work with the women, to create a verbatim piece. Once we had these stories, we wanted to tour them to make people aware that, this does happen to women and to try and get rid of the stigma that 'if i were in that position, I'd just leave'. We wanted to show how difficult it was to leave, when in that situation. After the performance we wanted to have a question and answer session so that, we could root out and hopefully abolish this stigma. However, even though i felt this was a great project, due to institutes not being reliable in getting back to us, even though seeming keen, we were forced to abandon it.
Therefore, a new plan was needed. Myself and Lucy worked together last year in the 'Teaching and Education' module. We had really enjoyed this module and really liked the positive work and result that had been achieved. Therefore, as Bex had also done some work in school, we decided to try and improve the relationship between the teachers and students within a school.
Now the question was which school. As far as i am concerned any school can benefit from work that aims to improve communication, however, there are schools which are in need of this work more than others. When discussing what school to go to, we naturally started talking about our old schools. Bex had a really good school life, of course full of ups and downs but on the whole was quite happy. My school was OK, some of the teachers were forthcoming when helping students but others were not so helpful. Lucy then spoke about her school and that there were issue within that school that could be improved, the school went through five headteachers whilst Lucy was there and because of this the school was closely watched by Offsted. We then came to the conclusion that due to our module being 'Drama in the Community', why not focus on a community that we knew and were familiar with. As a result of this we decided to organise the project around Lucy's secondary school, Longslade. Longslade is a school which consists of year 10 to year 13, and therefore ages of 15 - 18. Knowing this information we then had to concentrate on booking time with the school and planning our work and making sure it would be relevant and interesting for this age group.
We got in contact with the head of drama and dance at the school, Kate Goddard and arranged to spend a week in Leicester with the students. The week that we will be attending Longslade is the 9th March 2009 to the 13th March 2009. Bex, Lucy and I had all studied the Storytelling module last year and thought that this would be a great way to bridge the gap between the students and the teachers. Our plan was to create a workshop and within the classes, then use those workshops to create pieces that allowed the students, in groups to express issues or problems within the school, that they felt needed addressing. These pieces would then be shown to the teachers within a lunchtime. We chose to do this as we felt it was a constructive way to bring these issues to the forefront on a safe platform.
We were also aware that just walking into a class and just telling students what we wanted to do might not be the best way to start. Therefore, we also decided to start off the sessions with an introduction to storytelling performed by 'Shifting Point' (our group name). This piece would consist of the history of storytelling. How stories have developed through time from Cavemen and drawings, to the Egyptians and hieroglyphics, to modern day and facebook. We thought that by putting ourselves in front of the pupils right at the start, we would be able to show them that, we would be prepared to do anything that we would ask them to do; instead of just sitting and pointing out what we would want them to do, we were prepared to be involved with them and actively teach.
Expanding the modules intentions more, we also decided that in the evenings we would work with a amateur dramatic group. Therefore looking at people within the school community and see what issues they felt needed to be brought forward. With this group we also wanted to use storytelling as a constructive way for their points of view to be expressed.
We then expanded on this further as we thought that we should bring the school and the community together. We wanted to do an installation piece in the Easter break where, the students would meet with the community and create a range of different pieces. This could include storytelling, dance, music, art. Then with this, try to bring the community in to get involved, i.e. local musicians, local artists to give a true and real view of Leicester.
The part about storytelling which i like the most is that it is a way of communicating in a very effective manner. You can get a message across constructively, through humour, through movement, through just being yourself and being given the opportunity to say exactly what you want to say in a structured way. This is actually why i enjoy drama so much because every piece of drama, every performance has a story to tell.