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Glyndŵr University students use theatre to help pupils cope with life in North Wales high schools

22 February 2010

Students at Glyndŵr University have been using theatre and performance to help new high school pupils cope with issues such as relationships, cyber-bullying and classroom discipline.

Ten students, all studying on the University’s Theatre and Performance degree course, wrote and performed a 20-minute play about change to ease year seven school pupils through the transition from primary school to high school.

The pupils, aged 11-12, then explored some of the issues during an hour-long workshop guided by the students.

The workshop started with pupils acting out their daily routine as different times of the day were called out the Glyndŵr University students.

And for their final task, they were asked to come up with a freeze frame shot to capture a scenario linked to school life.

Scenarios included food fighting in the canteen, injured pupils in the playground and a pupil being isolated in the classroom for bad behaviour.

More than 100 year seven pupils attended the event over two days, including groups from Flint High School; Denbigh High School and St David’s School, Saltney.

Pupils also attended from Dinas Bran High School, Llangollen; Rhyl High School and Rhosnesni High School and Bryn Alyn School in Wrexham.

Elen Mai Nefydd, Senior Lecturer in Theatre and Performance at Glyndŵr University, said: “Our students devised the play and workshops to allow year seven pupils to explore how they feel they’ve changed since moving from primary to high school.

“Now that we have the Catrin Finch Centre we can put on events like this for local schools and feedback we had from all of the pupils was great.

"We mixed pupils from different schools together and lots of them commented how much they enjoyed making new friends.”

The scheme was funded by Reaching Higher, Reaching Wider, a pan-Wales initiative to encourage people from groups under-represented in higher education to go to university.

This included those from Community First areas, ethnic minority groups, people with disabilities and people wishing to study through the medium of Welsh.

Plans are already in place to hold similar workshops with year nine school pupils from across north east Wales.

Andy Jones, Head of Year Seven at Ysgol Bryn Alyn, said: “The workshops were very productive, particularly in giving our pupils the chance to interact with those from other schools.

“The sessions highlighted the issues of change which our younger pupils face in the early part of their life at high school.

"Learning about bullying, respecting other people, making decisions and respecting other people’s decisions is something which they will benefit from greatly.”

The next major production to be performed by Glyndŵr University’s Theatre and Performance students is Bouncers and Shakers by John Godber from 25-27 May in the Catrin Finch centre.

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