Wonderful performers

6th May 2005 at 01:00
Interplay Theatre. Leeds

"People expect cancer patients to arrive with bald heads and drips," says Sally Fletcher, community director of Interplay Theatre, which works with excluded groups in Leeds. Certainly, the out-of-school 14-to-16 year olds, for whom Interplay provides a two-year, twice-weekly alternative education programme, were wary of her suggestion that they create a dance-drama production with patients from the city's St James's Hospital teenage cancer unit.

"There was some apprehension," she says. "The excluded kids were worried about being with people with cancer, and the hospital kids were worried about the excluded ones: would they be really naughty or rude?" Yet, as the half-dozen young people from each group worked together on a 12-week dance, drama and film project, they bonded.

Led by choreographer Debbie Wild, writer Ben Tagoe and film-maker Natasha Kidd, the pupils discussed their favourite books and films as a way into developing a teenage love-and-loss story, which, when it was finished, was chosen to launch the 2005 Leeds Children and Young People's Film Festival.

The project, Leeds Dances Again, like all Interplay's education work, was run by professional artists, not teachers. The intention is always to re-engage disaffected young people in learning. But this went further, says Fletcher. "The young people have forged new friendships across unusual barriers and produced an amazing performance to several hundred people."

Since its launch the piece has been performed several times in Leeds, and the group hopes to show it at other festivals in the summer.

* For future performance details see www.interplay.org

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now