Elders at St Nicholas of Tolentine

In November 2016, our Malcolm X Elders Theatre Company had a fantastic schools project when they took a break from the stage, and had a go at being facilitators and directors instead of performing themselves.

The elders worked with Stoke Park Primary school’s year 5 class, telling them African Caribbean folk stories from their show Ticky Picky Boom Boom (2014 schools tour). Over the next six weeks, with the elders support, the children turned these stories into scenes, which the elders directed. This intergenerational project was a huge success with new friendships made, respect gained and lots of laughs all round.

Also this year, acta was contacted by the year 6 teacher at St Nicholas of Tolentine Primary, asking if we had any capacity to work with her class. In the past, acta have made theatre with children at the school and have been eager to develop a relationship there. The Elders worked with the year 6 class at the school through the summer term, and this is what they told us about their involvement:-

What did you enjoy?

– Stories from Jamaica
– Singing the songs
– The characters
– Dancing
– Getting to know more about Jamaica
– The rehearsal process – lots of laughs!
– Learning about Nancy
– Meeting the elders and working with them to create the show
– Every single bit!
– Performing in front of an audience
– Sharing our work with our parents/carers
– When the elders performed some of the stories to us

What did you learn?

– The stories
– Learnt more about the elders
– Learnt how to sing traditional songs
– The life of an actor
– Learning more about Jamaica
– To not be afraid when performing
– When you have fun, your audience has fun as well!

It was wonderful to work with acta and the Malcolm X Elders. The relationships established between the students and the elders were wonderful and showed the students what people in their local community do. The children then attended events at the centre (outside of school hours). I feel that the project allowed for the children to learn about a new area, work together and grow in confidence. The project also allowed for links to be made between the school and centres in the local community. We would welcome back the project any time! (Year 6 class teacher)