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New chapter in National Theatre school story project

More schools are set to benefit from the National Theatre’s Story Seekers project as it returns to Tameside for a new chapter.

Tameside Council Cultural Services is collaborating with the world-renowned National Theatre, in partnership with the Unicorn Theatre, to bring the learning project – which challenges children to find and share stories from across the globe – to local primary schools.

Earlier this year, Fairfield Road Primary, Droylsden, and its year three children took part, and this week St. Stephen’s R.C. Primary School, Droylsden and St. Anne's R.C. Primary and Nursery School, Audenshaw, came together to share their stories. Other schools that will be involved include St. John Fisher R.C. and Dane Bank Primary in Denton, and Gorse Hall Primary and Stalyhill Infants in Stalybridge.

Story Seekers is a free oracy and creative learning programme. Oracy is the ability to speak clearly, using correct grammar to get your point across. The project challenges children to connect with people and communities through the telling and sharing of stories.

As well as promoting story-telling, the initiative supports learning, with each school having access to professional actor-led workshops. Pupils and teachers taking part can also continue their learning and development at Portland Basin Museum, Ashton.

The project is part of Let’s Play, a free National Theatre primary schools programme designed to enable teachers to embed creative learning across the whole curriculum. It offers both staff and pupils the chance to see, make and learn through theatre.

Tameside Council Assistant Executive Member for Culture, Heritage and Digital Inclusivity, Councillor Sangita Patel, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for more of our schools to be involved in such a prestigious cultural and educational programme, led by the world-famous National Theatre. Engaging pupils in creative projects such as this at a young age helps them to develop their creativity, teamwork, social and speaking skills and I’m delighted that the programme has been extended so more pupils can benefit.”

Class teacher Amy, from St Stephen’s R.C. Primary School, said of the project: “The children thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Story Seekers programme from the National Theatre. We prepared for the event for eight weeks and the children explored ways to tell stories using their voices, gestures and story-telling phrases to perform their story in a confident, creative way.

"As teachers, we would recommend the programme to other schools as the training was very informative with all resources provided, and it helped the children to develop the vital skill of oracy.”

Class teacher Lousie Chadwick, from St. Anne’s R.C. Primary and Nursery School, said: "Story Seekers have provided our children with a fantastic opportunity to explore oracy in a fun and creative way. The children and our school community have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the programme. Our children have gained increased confidence and enthusiasm when speaking in front of audiences.”

To find out more visit www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/learn-explore/schools/lets-play

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