This project aimed to give children the power to explore what was important to them about the heritage of their local area. They were to be given a chance to interpret history by creating a play using their own thoughts and ideas based upon the research they had carried out.
Children from St Luke’s Junior School, Winton in Bournemouth and Haymoor Junior School, Canford Heath, Poole worked on a project combining History Geography and Drama.
To learn about the history of their schools and local area the children worked with Poole Museum, Dorset History Centre and Poole History Centre. They had the opportunity to look at old records, maps and newspaper cuttings about their locality, this was very interesting and they began to build up a picture of the past.
To further their research Poole Museum organised interviews with past residence of the two areas. The children thought of questions they would like to ask “real people” and what they would like to find out. Each school took a different approach.
St Luke’s focused upon school life in the past and had a workshop from Poole Museum entitled “Playgrounds of the Past”. They talked to past pupils of St Luke’s and found out about school life at their school in the 1940s and 50s.
Haymoor looked at the area of Canford Heath and thought about what life was like on the heath long ago and how the area had changed and become built up. They visited Poole Museum to have an experience of Victorian domestic life. They talked to residents of the area who had moved in when the houses were first built.
Once they had researched the subject the children had a day per class working with Treehouse Theatre Company to turn their ideas about the past into a play. Each school produced a play which wove together the ideas from each class in the school. The play was filmed and then shown to the rest of the school.
Highlights of the plays were edited together with interview snippets appertaining to that scene. The Highlights were shown at a celebration event at Poole Museum. The children enjoyed working on the project and so did Treehouse Theatre.
“We really enjoyed working at both schools, and thought the project was a brilliant concept and very inspiring for the children. As a company, we felt that the project used a wide range of our skills (as well as our knowledge base, props and costumes!), and was very rewarding.” Treehouse Theatre.