How we've used the 2018 grant so far

Raise Your Hands’ generous grant to Mousetrap Theatre Projects in January was used towards our fun-filled artists-in-residency Exploreprogramme at Little Heath School.

Explore is our series of projects for special needs schools in London, which include a theatre visit for students and a number of bespoke in-school drama workshops run by experienced practitioners.

These workshops are tailor-made for each group and explore themes and skills identified by the students’ teacher; for example, team-work, communication and self-expression.

Practitioners consult directly with teachers when planning so sessions are designed specifically for their students to ensure they get the most out of the project, both in terms of building their skill and enjoyment.

Many of the special schools we work with have limited or no drama provision and less than 10% of the students have been to the theatre before. These projects aim to provide enriching, magical theatre experiences to young people with special needs whilst using drama techniques to develop soft-skills.

We also aim to work with teachers to make the use of drama within the classroom sustainable, so students can engage with it beyond the life of the project.

The Little Heath School project saw 2 groups of 15 students each (30 young people) aged 11 – 16 & 14 – 19 take part in a 4-day space themed project with two of our practitioners. These students had a mix of complex needs including severe learning difficulties and in addition to being on the autism spectrum.

The project aimed to increase confidence and communication skills through working creatively as a group through a series of drama exercises, games and role play. The students explored space and space travel – moon, sun, rockets, etc – and the week ended with a sharing of their work with other students and families.

“I think the workshops are amazingly beneficial to all our children. Especially for our more complex children. The main purpose of drama is to give them another voice that is not a word voice but a movement voice and a gesture voice and a mime voice. It gives them many other ways of communicating and I think that’s what these sort of workshops do.”– Teacher, Little Heath School

Summary of Explore over the year

At the end of every Exploreproject, we ask teachers to complete an evaluation survey wherein they are asked to score how well the project fulfilled its aims on a scale of 1-4 (1 = not at all, 4 = fully met). In the past year, all teachers have given scores of 3 or 4 when asked to what extent each objective has been met. The top score of 4 was the most frequently awarded (and for one of the projects, the teachers gave a score of 4 against every objective).

Comments included:

“The extent to which the pupils engaged in such a short period of time, this was down to the skill of the facilitators, I have no doubt.” Teacher

“One of our students who is blind and has a physical disability engaged with the activities in a way I have rarely seen for her.” Teacher

“Calvin singing his song was so amazing because he’s so shy and now he wants [to come to] choir rehearsals.” Teacher

Headline Stats

From January to April 2018:

  • 1,060 students from 42 mainstream state secondary schools attended a Mousetrap theatre trip
  • 303 students with special needs took part in a theatre trip or Explore workshop
  • We held one Envision day for visually impaired young people for which 14 families attended with 19 young people (including siblings)
  • 52 young people from mainstream state secondary schools took part in an educational workshop
  • We arranged 34 trips for our membership clubs and more than 800 members attended these
  • 78 young people aged 18-24 attended our Youth Leadership in the Arts Conference