They talked to their parents - which was good in itself - and came back with books ranging from Beatrix Potter through Nigerian and Caribbean folk tales to Roald Dahl and Where the Wild Things Are. From these we produced a story about a bureaucratic manager who locks up stories in a box because he has no time for imagination. When he falls asleep all the stories come out; we referred to about 20 - 30 stories. Later he rediscovers imaginative works.
This production, called Mr Pickles Plays Guitar Where the Wild Things Are, toured 15 primary schools in South London and won a National Reading Campaign award. The project covered many curriculum areas, including literacy and drama. The rediscovery of early childhood books gave rise to all sort of discussions on what students had liked about these books and why. Some talked about why they had stopped reading: often because they were forced to read at school. In some cases, it gave something they loved back to them.
Stuart Worden, director of theatre, The BRIT School for Performing Arts, Croydon