St. John’s School and the Hercules Project
The aim of the Hercules Project was to work with a class of children from St. John’s School to engage with theatre through delivery of the Arts Award (Explore) accredited qualification.
Sarah Jane Lockwood (the artist) provided two introductory workshops in Street and Contemporary Dance activities to expose the young people to new and different genres of dance. In line with the Arts Award specification, the young people attended a live performance of New Art Club’s Hercules at the Grand Theatre Blackpool.
This trip informed the research aspect of the Arts Award, encouraging the young people to engage with culture in their local area. The artist facilitated three more workshops with the children from St John’s School, to support creative inquiry into the themes and ideas presented within the Hercules show. The class investigated the themes using creative skills and choreography methods learned in the initial pre-show workshops, resulting in the creation of a class performance piece that they shared with teachers, parents and peers. The artist also facilitated an additional ‘in class’ post show reflective workshop to support the portfolio requirements of Arts Award Explore.
“I really liked watching the show and taking part. To be honest it was brilliant, I wouldn’t change anything!” Harley, aged 9
“They’ve all really enjoyed the project and have been really excited about our dance workshops each week.” Remy Haydn, Teacher
Hercules – Impacts and Outcomes
• 29 young people aged 8-9 years all passed Arts Award Explore and will receive an accredited qualification and certificate of achievement.
• Young people engaged with arts provision in their local area. Many of these children had never entered a theatre before. Attending the theatre with school helps break down the barriers towards access, meaning young people of different social and economic background see the theatre as a cultural resource for them and a place where they feel welcome. This in turn will support audience development, both in the short term and also building the audiences of tomorrow,
• When questioned, all young participants confirmed that taking part in the project had been a positive experience.
• Four young people taking part in the project sought further opportunities to pursue dance training as a result of taking part in the project.
• The project was successful in maintaining and enhancing strong working relationships between the Grand Theatre, St John’s School and artist Sarah Jane Lockwood.
• End of term celebratory performance in front of parents and the rest of the school, promoting a sense of pride and achievement for the young people involved in the project and promoting the benefits of cultural activity to a wider audience.
• The project provided an opportunity for St John’s C of E Primary School to enhance their cultural offer by engaging with their local arts organization to provide high quality artists workshops and theatre experiences with experienced industry professionals.
• Young people learned about progression routes into dance and theatre and how they might access opportunities in their local area.
• Arts Award log books provided variety of methods for recording and reflecting on the arts activities meaning the Arts Award Explore was made accessible to a variety of learners and learning styles.
• Working with a professional artist and highly respected programming venue provided young people with a memorable experience and an opportunity to connect with the cultural activity beyond the confines of the classroom.