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Words on the stage

At a time when most Theatre in Education companies are wondering how they will survive another school year, Bradford has The Twisted Yarn Theatre Company, working under the umbrella of Bradford Theatres and financed, with great enthusiasm, by the city's council. The company's first show, Tongue Tied and Word Blind, has just started a two-month tour of Bradford schools.

Aimed at Year 5 pupils, Tongue Tied and World Blind is closely linked to the Bradford Year of Literacy initiative. The theatre fires children's imaginations, giving them "a reason to want to read and write", says artistic director Iain Bloomfield.

And the story is fluid. The three actors, who with Mr Bloomfield devised the show, accept words and descriptions and use them in the narrative. At one school a child suggested "slimy bridges" for the actors to cross and children stepped forward to create the bridges with their bodies. Others became a volcano.

Mr Bloomfield says: "Every child has a right to success, so there are no wrong suggestions. The story is limited only by their imaginations."

The actors, all skilled in writing, directing and other arts, were chosen for their breadth of vision and creativity. And performances are free. "If we charge," says Mr Bloomfield, "many people are denied access. We don't want that to happen."

Kevin Berry

Tongue Tied and Twisted is being performed free for Bradford schools. Future shows will also almost certainly be free. For details, tel: 01274 751576

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