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

THE Second World War has been brought to life for children from Silver Springs Academy, Stalybridge.

They took part in interactive World War 11 workshops run by Oldham Coliseum Theatre, as part of the partnership programme with New Charter Group.

Pupils at Silver Springs Academy with staff from Oldham Coliseum Theatre

Through the immersive workshops run over two days, pupils from year six discovered what life was like during World War II.

They focused 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.

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

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

School principal Deborah Mason said: “At Silver Springs, we believe 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 for 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 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 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 support in finding further education or employment opportunities.

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