Write Here! It’s Our Write, Leicester

IT'S OUR WRITE-Set building“What really engages the children is using something they can relate to and helping them to use their imagination to create stories and characters to write about. It’s about taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary.” – Richard O’Neill Writer in Residence

It’s Our Write, Leicester was a three year project developed and delivered by Writing East Midlands, in partnership with Babington Community College and The Mighty Creatives. Roma writer, storyteller and National Literacy Hero (National Literacy Trust 2013) Richard O’Neill worked with BTEC Performing Arts students from Babington Community College and Medway Community Primary School to write and produce two plays and a film over the course of this long term residency. it's our write imageThe plays were each staged at the Y Theatre to packed houses of family and friends, whilst the film was premiered at the Peepul Centre. Click HERE or on the image opposite to see a video trailer for Full Circle.

In a series of visits to the college, Richard worked with the participants to develop their English language, literacy and creative writing skills. During the course of the residency the young people also had the opportunity to work with a stage make-up artist, an animation company and a puppeteer. The group visited Leicester’s flagship theatre Curve for a ‘Commissioning and Careers Day’, to see what it was like to work in a theatre and to try their hand at different art forms related to theatre production with professional artists. They also saw a live musical theatre performance.

It's Our Write imageAs a result of the residency, Writing East Midlands and The Mighty Creatives commissioned Richard to develop a creative writing toolkit for teachers and writers working with Roma and other pupils with English as an Additional Language. That toolkit, and an accompanying CPD workshop, is now available to purchase here (It’s Our Write TOOLKIT).

ARTSAWARD-200px56 younger participants in year 4 at Medway Community Primary School were able to undertake a Discover and Explore Arts Award as part of their Write Here experience. To help the school bridge the gap with parents, Richard O’Neill delivered a session specifically for families, showcasing what the children had achieved and engaging some families in school life for the first time.

Here’s what some of the BTEC students said:

“Working on the play helps us with our English. There is no pressure about what our writing is like with Richard and Adam and we get to write about what we are interested in.”

“At first I was scared to talk because my English is not very good but that doesn’t matter now, we all help each other to translate.”

“We have learnt about what to do when we are on stage. Some of us are shy about performance but making the play as a film has made this easier because we don’t perform it in front of a lot of people at first.”

And here’s what some of the Year 4 pupils said:

IT's OUR WRITE“Mr O Neill’s story about Muscle Tot inspired me to be a better writer and a better person for imagination. It has also inspired me to read more books.”

“Writing about Maisie inspired me to use my imagination. It also inspired me that I CAN make puppets and I CAN be anything I want to be if I listen!”

“When I came to England I didn’t know how to speak English. Now I can speak more through talking to new people in my class with Mr O’Neill”

“I’m not afraid to tell the class my thoughts as Mr O’Neill shows us that all of our ideas are good.”

“I enjoy writing now as Mr O’Neill makes it fun. I loved writing our Onion Bhaji stories, that was the best bit.”