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Past Projects

(Photo above: Dance Aloud, Norwich Playhouse, March 2011)
Find out about the work Playhouse Education has done over the past few years...




Participating schools: Colman Junior School, Kinsale Junior School, St. Michael's VA Junior School, West Earlham Junior School

A theatre performance in March by poets Luke Wright and Molly Naylor for 120 nine to eleven year olds from four local primaries followed a teacher-training event at the Playhouse in February. The performance poets then ran a series of in-school poetry development workshops to inspire the children to create their own poetry. PoetryQuest culminated in a celebratory performance at the Playhouse in June, where all the students performed their own poetry, supported by Luke and Molly, for an audience made up of their peers, teachers and families.

"The proudest moment for me was when I stood up on the stage in front of everyone and performed our work."
"I've learned that you don't have to have a couple of words that rhyme, a poem can just be words put together to make it as best as you can."

"When Luke came in I thought "Oh great, poetry" but now I think "GREAT POETRY!"
"Not only has it changed my perception of poetry, it has also made me more confident in myself."
                                                                                       feedback from participants in PoetryQuest

LUKE WRIGHT (see photo top right)
"I rarely work with primary school children and this project has left me asking: "why on earth not!" Maybe I just got lucky, but these kids are great. Their enthusiasm, intelligence, creativity and kindness to one another has filled my heart. If they have have got even a quarter of what I have out of this project then we've nailed it."

MOLLY NAYLOR (see photo top right)
"I've been working with West Earlham on poems around the theme of 'when i grow up.' They're the youngest group taking part and I've been incredibly impressed with their ability to rise to the challenge of team-writing. They've been brilliant at working together and have made me feel so welcome.

I've been working with St. Michael's on poems around the theme of 'fears.' Some teams have come up with some impressively difficult fears to address, most notably 'the unknown'! Seeing how they approach that has been funny and fascinating. 'Fears' as a subject matter has led to some very cool and interesting discussions.

Luke's hairstyle has been a running theme since we performed for them at the Playhouse. On the first day of working at both of my schools, the hair was mentioned (and met with theatrical eye-rolling from me).

I love working with both of these groups and I can't wait to see them take the stage."


Norwich Playhouse believes that access to quality theatre experiences builds confidence and enhances the lives of its audience members. Playhouse Education will continue to offer opportunities for hearing-impaired and deaf young people to participate in mainstream theatre events.

"The benefits of working in the physically creative environs of Theatre Arts can be life-changing for both deaf and hearing young people." Roberta Hamond

In March 2011, six deaf teenagers performed their own dance piece on the Playhouse stage. It was called Dance Aloud and was devised by the young people under the guidance of Norwich born dance and theatre artist Neil Paris. In May 2012, Dance Aloud was awarded an Olympic Inspire Mark. (Photo above from Dance Aloud at Norwich Playhouse)

         "Apart from recognising innovation and quality, the Inspire Mark really brings about a
          sense of family and belonging and provides a fantastic opportunity to acknowledge
          and celebrate the courage, determination and excellence demonstrated in everyday
                      Anna McCarthy, Creative Projects Officer for Norfolk County Council

Norwich Playhouse, keen to continue providing opportunities for young deaf people to engage with the arts, looked at their mainstream programming for shows that could be relevant to hearing-impaired and deaf teenagers.

International productions lead the way
The first event offered was a free hip-hop workshop with pioneering American all female hip-hop group Decadance when they performed at the Playhouse in October 2012.

         “This looks great! I really like it. I'm certainly happy for us to be viewed as being
          in partnership with you, I think that is important.”
Kate Stocks, Norfolk Virtual School Sensory Support Team

The Playhouse then joined forces with The Garage to offer a free object-manipulation circus workshop inspired by French circus/mime artists Didier Andre and Jean-Paul LeFeuvre who performed their International Mime Festival success Chez Moi Circus and Ni Omnibus at the Garage in November 2012. The workshop took place in January 2013, led by Neil Paris and Garage Circus skills workshop leader Alain Mansfield. (See photos in the Picture Gallery, right).

          "Had a brilliant time", "learned something new", Good to work with Neil (Paris)",
          "Good to have my friend with me", "Good to have two support leaders", "It was
           very active - fun", "I have learned a lot like how to juggle and how to move and
           keeping the object still", "Love to do it again"                   Participating students

Added value for dynamic programming
In Deaf-Awareness Week, May 2013, Norwich Playhouse presented its first captioned performance of The Girl With The Iron Claws, together with a pre-show talk accessible to both lip-readers and BSL users and a post-show Q&A supported by live ‘speech-to-text’ via palantype and a BSL interpreter. (See Picture Gallery).

          "Many thanks for the fantastic play at the Playhouse last night.  My daughter and I
           enjoyed the pre-talk, the show and the post talk. I think the whole event has been
           very successful particularly for deaf audiences."
                                                                               Malcolm Sinclair, deaf connexions Norwich

          “It was an absolute delight for me to have the benefit of the captioning. I have
           severe hearing loss in both ears and attend the playhouse performances many
           times throughout the year. I was therefore so pleased to have the captioning and
           I really hope to see it again, ideally as a permantent feature in all performances
           if possible. PS. my son and I thought the 'Iron Claws' performance was excellent.”

                                                                                                                       an audience member

To read more about our captioned performance in Arts Professional click HERE.

Special thanks to:
Norfolk County Council & Children's Services, Town Close Estate Charity, The Norfolk Virtual School Sensory Support Team, The Garage, 'house', Mark Makin, The Wrong Crowd Theatre Company, STAGETEXT, deaf connexions Norwich, National Deaf Children's Society, Angela Bell, Norma White, Anna McCarthy, Betsy Fowler, Jo Sayers, Sara Carey, Playhouse technicians and Front of House staff.

Watch this space for more...


START PROJECT (2008-2011)

Read the February 2013 blog from the Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts - all about our START project - by clicking HERE.

To see how the project lives on six years later as Continued Theatre Trips go to our "Be in the Audience" page HERE.

Working in partnership with The Prince's Foundation For Children and the Arts, we created the START PROJECT, giving young people the opportunity to experience the arts as an audience member, working particularly with children in areas with deprivation factors. Each student came to see two contrasting performances at the Playhouse, and then had an opportunity to create work in response to what they had seen, which was entered into a competition and displayed to the public in our galleries.

3 years, 8 high schools, 6 professional productions, 2,600 students and teachers coming to performances twice each year, 3 exhibitions of student work displayed in two galleries at the Playhouse and then at the Professional Development Centre, £450 of prizes for individual students and their schools, 36 free (to schools) coaches, 2 Classic FM podcasts plus news articles, radio interviews, student and teacher website coverage by participating schools, stimulating cross-curricular programming and off timetable events, not to mention 4 Teacher Showcases with cake!

Schools who took part:
Alderman Peel High School, Wells-next-the-sea
Cromer Academy
Earlham High School (now City Academy)
Hellesdon High School
The Hewett School, Norwich
Sewell Park College, Norwich
Sprowston High School
Stalham High School