As part of our ongoing collaborative partnership with Rosehill School, HandMade Theatre have just completed a two-day residency at the school working on ‘The Queen’s Long Dance’; a project inspired by the children’s work on Elizabeth II’s new record as the longest reigning British Monarch.
HandMade’s creative sessions were designed specifically to suit the theme and the individual needs of the children at Rosehill School; creative sessions are a proven way to engage ASD students in new and exciting ways. Joint planning was key to the success of the project to ensure the themes and activities explored fitted with classroom teaching and the curriculum, and supported staff effectively through new ideas, resources and approaches. Lead by a ‘Queen’ character, role-played by HandMade’s Creative Producer Suzy Gunn, groups explored a variety of memories from the Queen’s long reign using a combination of story-telling, music and movement.
The sessions were devised along 3 key ideas:
- The different decades of the Queen’s reign (History)
- A typically British tea party (Culture)
- Memories (Character, story telling)
Each class was asked to prepare for their creative session by creating a special gift for the Queen. This encouraged staff and students to consider what might be an appropriate gift and to create something to bring, ensuring that classes were anticipating the session and could feel excited in the build up. In return for the present the ‘Queen’ presented each class with a special hat. She suggested ideas of where this hat came from such as ‘the hat she wore to the wedding’ or ‘the day of the moon landing’, with the expectation that each class could use the hat in any way they felt appropriate to expand the theme and stimulate continuing learning in school.
Artists Involved: Suzy Gunn & Amy Nicholson
‘Students were able to access the session at their level – sensory activities to engage – it fitted exactly into the work we have been doing and we want to develop the ideas into the Christmas performance’ – Teacher
‘Happy expressions; explored the props; engaged throughout; able to stay in for all the session’ – Teacher describing one pupil’s experience