Arena Theatre announces funding success for new education project

The project will take place in Wolverhampton, and is designed to create new opportunities for young people. Working with pupils from West Park Primary School and Penn Hall School, Counter Culture will look at the changing role of the counter in community life, charting the progression from local shops and services on the high street, to call centres and automated check-outs, and the resulting impact on the life of communities.

It is designed to work alongside classroom teaching to develop children’s communication skills and confidence, and to build pride in local communities.

The project will take place over a seven month period, beginning with an oral history-gathering process and then creating a performance based on these findings. This will take place at the Arena Theatre in March 2014.

Archive materials will be produced and lodged at Wolverhampton City Archives, and an exhibition will tour schools and libraries in the city. The project is also generously supported by the Sir Barry Jackson Trust, the Grantham Yorke Trust and the Dorothy and Edward Cadbury Trust.

Alison Vermee, Theatre Development Officer at the Arena Theatre, said: “This grant from Heritage Lottery Fund will enable the Arena to engage young people in a stimulating, enriching and creative project and help build their relationship with their communities. The performance at the Arena next March will be a highlight of the spring programme.”

Reyahn King, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, said: “This imaginative project will help the children to understand how communities have interacted with one another as times have changed. It will also help bridge the generations with older residents sharing their memories with the young researchers.”

The Arena Theatre is part of the University of Wolverhampton and one of the West Midlands' longest established and most successful small-scale touring venues. It hosts a wide range of performances each year by professional companies, local and amateur organisations and school, college and University groups.

The theatre receives funding from Arts Council England and the University of Wolverhampton.

ENDS

Image: (L-R) Alison Vermee, Theatre Development Officer at the Arena Theatre, with Lisa Harrison, Counter Culture Project Leader, at the Bargaining Stone, St. Peter's Collegiate Church, Wolverhampton.

For more information please contact Alison Vermee at the Arena Theatre on 01902 323171 ora.vermee@wlv.ac.uk

Date Issued: Friday 25 October 2013

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