Alive And Kicking Theatre Company believe passionately in the beneficial impact that participatory drama and role play can have on children. They have been delivering work in primary schools for almost 30 years, mainly in Leeds and the surrounding area.
There have recently been some changes to the management team, with Luke Dickson as Artistic Director and Ammie Flexen as the new Company Manager/Producer. They are working hard to adapt to the ever changing educational landscape whilst remaining true to their core principle of putting children and their ideas at the heart of their workshops and productions. We asked Ammie to tell us more about what they are working on at the moment.
“ In our latest research and development project The Cave, directed by Luke, we are working very closely with schools to understand their individual requirements and direction to support them in their response to the demands of the curriculum and funding cuts.
The Cave is based on the true story of the discovery of the now famous Lascaux cave paintings in 1940’s France. We will engage the children by creating stories, exploring the past and delving into worlds within worlds. Using The Lascaux caves as a starting point, we will engage children’s imaginations, inspire them in literacy, involve them in history and co-collaborate on journeys of wonder, challenge, resilience and change. Five schools will be directly involved in the first stage of devising this production with creative and curriculum input from the head teachers and teachers involved. A full scale tour of The Cave will commence in 2018.
Research is a valuable part of our work. The legacy of our years of experience is a mass of anecdotal, as well as ongoing academic evidence, of the impact on children’s learning and engagement. New and inspiring insights are expected from our partnership with Leeds Becket University and Burley and Woodhead Primary School in a whole school research project.
Research such as this, over many years, has revealed the value of our unique Alive and Kicking methodology, first developed by our founders, John Mee and Martin Riley in 1989. This is an immersive “mantle of the expert” approach which encourages creative freedom and critical thinking within clear supportive structures. The children make the crucial decisions, they solve the problems and are invited to step into the story with us, encountering and becoming characters at crucial dramatic moments – a method that works well with children and their teachers alike. In addition, we provide supporting educational packs that enable the work to be extended before and after our visit.
Alive And Kicking thrives with a team of expert freelancers for our range of productions and workshops. Martin Riley shares his professional expertise in writing and history and topic workshops ranging from Victorians, Celts and Egyptians, as well as lending a personal touch with his WWII workshops based on family diaries. As an extra special treat you can have a visit from two published writers as Martin works with our patron and award-winning writer Melvin Burgess on workshops bringing Viking folklore and history to life.
John Mee is currently developing Woman at the Top of the Mountain, available to schools from Autumn 2017. In these times of change, this socially relevant piece of work asks pupils to meet the mystery Woman at the Top of the Mountain who arrives at midnight. Why is she there? What will become of her? We ask the children to share in her adventure of where she has been and where she is going and participate in mystery, adventure, solving clues, inventing narrative, songs and creative writing.
As well as children and teachers, we support schools in encouraging parental involvement with our Parent Plus programme. This enables parents to witness their child’s new found skills, share in memory building and positive conversations about school. We invite a small number of parents into school during the day or run additional twilight sessions for much larger numbers.”
If you are interested in finding out more about Alive and Kicking, please visit their website: