The bears are back!
Thanks to amazing support from Cherwell District Council and Sanctuary Housing, our original cast have returned for an Autumn tour of Pete Stays Home.
Between October 19 and November 5 we'll visit many schools and early years centres in Cherwell, taking in 4 theatres over the half term break too!
We were also proud to host a special screening and Q&A for our 'Pete Stays Home' documentary on October 21st.
A huge thank you to Lock 29 Banbury for hosting us. Please enjoy the docuentary which is now freely available on our YouTube channel.
On 13th September we celebrated the creative work of young people across the Cherwell District. Our Symposium event live stream can be accessed here for a limited time only!
Prior to the pandemic hitting, CTC ran a series of successful storytelling programmes and workshops across the Cherwell District. With generous funding and support from The Ragdoll Foundation, Cherwell District Council, Oxfordshire Community Foundation, The Hobson Charity and our partners at Activate Learning, we developed the Tell Your Story Festival, an interactive youth arts event set to feature street theatre, comedy, music and an array of other art forms created in collaboration with professional artists.
Due to lockdown, we were unable to showcase a live event, however were extremely fortunate to be in a position to offer online events and workshops in its place, providing a much needed creative outlet and safe place for our young community.
In June 2021, we were delighted to finally be able to celebrate with the community by holding a COVID-safe live event which saw the new Lidl carpark transform into a creative hub of activity and entertainment, thanks to continued support from Wild Property, Castle Quay, Lock 29 plus others.
Our Symposium event allowed us to showcase the work that was produced, feedback on special moments and share live performances with you, our incredible audience, who continue to support the work of our young people in our community.
Play in a Day: Rumpelstiltskin
Play in a Day: Pandora's Box
CTC Present: A Summer of Play
Throughout August, CTC took part in the #summerofplay initiative, a national campaign to enable all children, in all our communities, to have space and time for play this summer.
Thanks to generous support from The Bouttell Bequest and Victoria Wood Foundation we were able to offer accessible workshops for both Key Stage 1 and 2 children at a heavily subsidised price with bursary placements for those that needed them.
Our two Key Stage 1, 'Play in a Day' offerings were based on a Fairytale theme of 'Once Upon a Time' and 'Greek Myths' to compliment the Summer Project. Rumpelstiltskin and Pandora's Box were the stories of choice for the 5-8 year olds and for many of the children this was their first experience of drama. Each workshop included a mini performance at the end of the day and proved hugely successful with parents praising the amount of work that went into the performances with only a short amount of prep.
Play in a Week: Fantastic Mr. Fox
Our Play in a Week workshop, Fantastic Mr. Fox, designed for 7-11 years olds sold out very quickly with 30 Key Stage 2 children taking to the stage to bring Roald Dahl's classic tale to life.
Our highly anticipated production drew large audiences, and the children gave not one, but two incredible performances in our theatre area at Activate Leaning, Banbury. We'd like to thank Sanctuary Housing and their 'Play: Full' scheme for providing lunches and to Wacky Wardrobes for their support in kind in allowing us to borrow a huge selection of costumes and props for our play.
Myth II: Summer Project
‘MYTH II: Heroes and Halfwits, was sequel to our Greek theatre production MYTH (2019). Our young people were perhaps the most excited about planning this one and it became symbolic of our returning outdoors post lockdown with our first large scale community
As part of Summer of Play, this 4 week, free community project was open to local young people with an interest not only in performing but also music, set design, make up and costume. A professional team of 9 worked with 31 young people to develop and rehearse the musical piece, which we then toured to 7 venues, incorporating new build housing estates, marketplaces helping approx. 1,500 people across local residents reunite and celebrate safely together outdoors.
“This was the best summer of my life”- Participant, aged 15
Our interactive theatre project, 'Pete Stays Home' completed a successful outdoor tour of Oxfordshire schools as well as several public viewings at People's Park with performances enjoyed by over 500 people!
Designed for early years and KS1 children, 'Pete Stays Home' explores the theme of lockdown through the story of young bear, ‘Pete’ who has to hibernate in his cave to stay safe through the winter and encourages our young audiences to explore their feelings towards their recent lockdown experiences.
We hope you all enjoyed the show as much as we did. We hope to bring the show to many more audiences later in the year. Watch this space!
Our Tell Your Story Festival took a Banbury Car Park by storm on 5 June with workshops and performances for all of the family.
We were joined by Under the Bed Theatre, Emma Boor, musicians David Gibb and Paris Georgia, poet Sam Berkson, illustrator Tom Cross, imporvisers Cesca, Verity and Dom and of course CTC's young people who performed stand up comedy, poetry, theatre and even hosted a screening of films made throughout this project, which kicked off online in January.
We would like to express our huge gratitude to Ragdoll Foundaiton, Oxfordshire Community Foundaion, Cherwell District Council and Hobson Charity for making this project possible and Wild Property, Castle Quay and Lock 29 for their continued support.
We're excited to announce a new online and in person project "The Tell Your Story Festival".
The project was originally slated for Summer 2020 and would have seen young people taking over Banbury town centre with street theatre, comedy, music and an array of other art forms created in collaboration with professional artists.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the festival has now been split in two with one week taking place from 12 –17 April online and the second week taking place from 31 May – 5 June with Covid secure outdoor performances. Each week, young people can join free open rehearsal sessions, collaborating with professionals to create and stage their original work, followed by weekend showcases.
We're off on tour... in a manner of speaking! Our new E-Safety film Do You Accept beams into classrooms this spring, with live workshops facilitated by the stars themselves, Krage Brown, Jess-Lloyd Jones and Alena Patel. 300+ children will interact with the project across Cherwell!
We're excited to announce a new interactive children’s theatre project “Pete Stays Home”.
The play, adapted by Renata Allen from a book by Banbury based author Karra McFarlane explores the theme of lockdown through the story of young bear, ‘Pete’ who has to hibernate in his cave to stay safe through the winter. He misses his Grandparents, his friends and going to school.
The book is a brilliant way of getting children to express their feelings about lockdown without actually asking them to relive their own experiences and we are working alongside teachers, children and young people to develop this project for local schools in the Spring.
Year 1 children will receive 3 online workshops prior to the performance. The workshops will be developed and delivered with performing arts students from Banbury & Bicester College, featuring a section of the story each week and fun tasks for children to complete including creative writing, art and music activities, which they can share with the actors when the show pops up in playgrounds, once restrictions lift.
We're planning to provide a number of free outdoor public performances too, with details TBC in line with government guidance.
St Michaels Charities, The Split Infinite Trust, Project Spark
We've wrapped filming on our E Safety film "Do You Accept?"
This project was previously titled "The Web" and we've worked online with groups of young people since October to re-imagine our 2017 play as a film with animated elements.
In December, we worked with performing arts and media students at Banbury College, who took on voice over and technical roles in our two week shoot, working alongside professional actors and our creative team to bring the project to life.
Activate Learning at Banbury College have been wonderful partners once again, providing their green screen studio, equipment and technical support.
We'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has made this project possible at this difficult time, and we're looking forward to a socially distanced premiere event in the spring, before the film and live online workshops are disseminated to schools.
Our Park Rangers Sophie and Emily (or Ranger Jackson and Ranger Stevens) have been out and about this month, visiting local Banbury schools with fantastic outdoor learning workshops for year 4 students.
This initiative, funded by Cherwell District Council's Community Nature Plan, The H D H Will Charitable Trust and The Pye Charitable Settlement encourages young people to consider the effects of climate change on biodiversity and our local areas and to take responsibility for their school's carbon footprint, creating their own environmental campaigns.
The workshop featured drama games, forest school activities, songs and puppetry and was enjoyed outdoors by year 4 classes at Hill View school this month. We're very excited to bring our Rangers out to more local schools in 2021!
DO THE SOLUTION, NOT THE POLLUTION!
We have received support from Thames Valley Police, Arts Council England, Oxfordshire Community Foundation and Cherwell District Council to adapt our 2017 E Safety play 'The Web' into a film this winter.
The film will be disseminated to Cherwell primary schools, with accompanying online workshops led by actor-facilitators in Spring 2021.
The first phase of our project however, took place in October half term. Young people aged 11+ joined us online over half term to work with 4 actors, a playwright, director, sound designer and animator to reimagine our script for 2020 and we later performed rehearsed readings for 2 Cherwell Schools over Zoom.
Though filming dates have had to be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, our R&D phase was a great success, the script is in re-development and we look forward to completing the production soon.
The film will be disseminated to Cherwell schools with free live workshops in March 2021.
We're excited to begin socially distanced workshops at Banbury College once more, though due to demand we will also continue to provide free online opportunities over the coming weeks.
It's been good to reflect at the start of this new term on all our young people have achieved since May. We've created an online murder mystery, various short films, even devised, scripted and recorded original radio plays for broadcast on BBC Radio Oxford. Click below to hear and see just some of the excellent work created!
“I really liked how we'd start something in the session then have the week to finish it off. I really found myself being more independent, taking myself off and finishing off things because I really enjoy it. I could fill my whole week and then present [the work] and share it the following week. I liked that continuous way of working together and seeing other peoples work it was really nice”- Participant of online workshops
Having undertaken a research and development process exploring online drama workshops with young people in May, our weekly workshops are now up and running and we're having a huge amount of fun!
Thanks to a generous advertising grant from Oxfordshire station JACK FM, we embarked on a fun project in June, creating and recording 8 radio adverts, which will be broadcast over 100 times on JACK FM in June and July.
The adverts were produced with support from Adrian Banks, who also composed original music. Listen out for our young people on the airwaves over the coming weeks!
Online workshops supported by...
We have received support from Cherwell District Council and the Charities Aid Foundation to present a new play for young people 'The Changing Room' by Chris Bush.
This interactive theatre experience will take place at Woodgreen Leisure Centre and is suitable for ages 8+.
At present, this production has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please check this page for further updates and we will keep you informed:
Set in and around a swimming pool, The Changing Room follows a group of teenagers full of excitement, impatience and uncertainty. They know change is coming, but not what it'll look like.
This hilarious yet thought provoking production explores transition and the onset of adolescence and will be presented in partnership with North Oxfordshire Music Service choirs and Vibes Fitness cheerleaders!
The audience will be guided around "promenade style" in small groups and scenes will take place in changing rooms, fitness studios, on the bowls green, in the outdoor play area, finishing around the outdoor pool itself.
The production will be presented as a 'play in a week' holiday project, directed by Tristan Jackson-Pate and Sophie Beckinsale, with movement direction from Diana Christie and songs and sound design by Daniel Pate.
We received funding from Arts Council England to continue research and development of our new Dungeons and Dragons inspired play for young people 'Sam and Zoe Vs Evermore".
The play explores communication in relationships and mental health issues with a light, comedic touch, as our heroes Sam and Zoe battle to save their relationship, with the help of a willing audience.
We rehearsed at Banbury College between 2-16 March from 12.30pm-8pm each day, and welcomed young people with an interest in fantasy gaming and theatre to join us, dropping in and out of the process, working in collaboration with professional actors, directors, designers, movement and fight directors and an award winning game theatre expert as we explored this new play.
We were hosted by local comedy club Rock the Atic, Banbury on March 2, where we performed a stand up, sketch comedy and improvisation evening!
We've been preparing for the event since the start of January, exploring improvisation and comedy in our Monday night workshops. We even had a wonderful professional skills session with Stand Up comedian Alex Farrow, where he helped us craft our own comedy routines, sharing all the tricks of the trade.
35 people took part in the performance, which was attended by family and friends- the Atic was full to the brim! Not only did we enjoy playing improvisation games with our audience, a whopping 10 young people performed their own stand up routines, which had us rolling in the aisles!
Thanks indeed to Rock the Atic for making this a unique and special experience for our participants. We're sure we'll return there soon!
Over February half term we ran two 'play in a week' style projects at Banbury College.
In the Shakespeare Sessions, 20 young people explored six different Shakespeare plays practically including 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', 'Henry V', 'Macbeth' and 'Romeo and Juliet'. The process was led by Artistic Director Tristan Jackson-Pate with actor-facilitator Eloise Secker, and Diana Christie. A variety of approaches to the plays were used, from movement to improvisation, bringing the text to life with young people in the lead. We saw a Macbeth set variously in a zoo, on a rollercoaster and a world war one trench and heard a version of 'To be or not to be' performed in Arabic, sharing our work in the drama studio and at Sophie's Barn at the end of the week.
"My daughter didn't like Shakespeare until participating in this week"- Parent of participant
Sophie Beckinsale and Emily Butler led 'The Park Ranger' a week long environmental arts workshop in which ages 7-11 became trainee Rangers, made bird feeders, did some gardening, visited the park, made collages and devised theatre and dance pieces, sharing their wonderful work with family and friends on the Friday.
This project, generously supported by Cherwell District Council will pop up in primary schools and at local playday events in green spaces this summer- more details to follow soon!
We completed another short research and development period for our interactive game theatre piece for young people 'Sam and Zoe Vs Evermore'.
Writer and CTC Artistic Director Tristan Jackson-Pate worked with actor/writers Jess Lloyd-Jones and Krage Brown on this Dungeons and Dragons inspired comedy, presented in co-production with new offshoot collective 'Butterfingers' at Sophie's Barn.
The play explores communication in relationships and mental health issues with a light, comedic touch, as our heroes Sam and Zoe battle to save their relationship, with the help of a willing audience.
The process culminated in the Oxfordshire Theatre Makers 'Emanate' Showcase on 29 January, where we shared our work with an industry audience at the Old Fire Station Theatre. Plans are afoot to tour the play in May 2021, so watch this space!
From Setpember to January we completed an exciting film project with our friends at Let's Play Banbury, who do wonderful work with young people with additional needs.
Over the weeks participants are creating a short film with lots of dancing, acting and more costume changes than a Lady Gaga Concert!
We co-hosted a red carpet event at Rock the Atic Banbury in January to premiere this wonderful piece, produced by Fresh-FX. Huge thanks to Diana, Jonny, Tracey and her team of amazing playworkers!
‘We had no expectations leading into this project as it’s the first of its kind that we have run at Let’s Play. The young people have responded better than we could ever have anticipated. They arrive every week with a huge smile on their face ready to get to work which is a million miles away from where we started. During the first week our amazing CTC facilitator Diana started with a warm up game as a gentle introduction. The young people seemed self-conscious, nervous, and a little unsure of what to do. Fast forward to week ten; they are in costume, following instructions, confident, focused and having a huge amount of fun.'
Tracey Owen, Operations Manager, Let’s Play Project
Presented in partnership with...
Last summer CTC undertook a community theatre project involving 35 participants, a professional creative team of 7 and a combined audience of over 1,500.
Our members came up with the idea of creating an outdoor performance exploring Greek mythology, designed to inspire and bring together communities. Every young person who wanted to get involved in this free activity was encouraged to and participants explored acting; devising; puppetry and costume; assistant stage management and directing.
In devising ‘Myth’, young people examined classic tales and considered their modern relevance, supported by Artistic Director Tristan Jackson-Pate and Movement Director Emma Webb in classes from April-July. In August, participants were joined by three professional actor/facilitators, stage management and designers and undertook a two week intensive rehearsal process before embarking on a six date community tour.
“I like the way the actors work with you, it’s not just “I’m an actor, you’re a child”
“I think it’s made me a lot more confident because we had to perform to people I’ve never seen before. It’s the first time I’ve done that.”
"We particularly like that CTC is so inclusive. The professional actors were such warm friendly and enthusiastic people. They got on so well with the young people and they were very encouraging, giving gentle nudges to try out new things in a way that empowered people."
Parent of MYTH Participant
“Some of the houses around our village green can seem imposing, and I think we claimed the space. We took it over from the construction crew and made it fun, which we’ve been waiting a long time to do!"
Chair of Residents Association, Heyford Park
This project was funded by the National Lottery Community Fund, Cherwell District Council, The Victoria Wood Foundation, Doris Field Charitable Trust, The Ormonde Foundation, The Lynn Foundation and Bartlett Taylor Trust