Adventuring in pastures new...
Prior to the untimely intervention of Covid-19, KIT was careering towards its busiest/most exciting period, with our adventures set to reach further across the UK than ever before. This post, by KIT’s producer Anna Myers, was written before Covid-19 lockdown (and thus feels as if it is from a distant point in ancient history). Thanks to brilliant support from our funders (the Paul Hamlyn Foundation & Arts Council England) and the ingenuity of our partners and freelance teams, we’re happily relieved that the projects discussed below will all be going ahead when normal-ish life is resumed, albeit with drastically altered schedules.
While there is amazing theatre being made for, by and with young people up and down the country, we know that activity is often disproportionately focussed in major cities. To this end, even though KIT’s HQ is based at BAC’s Scratch Hub in South London, we’ve always been committed to delivering work more widely, reaching areas of the UK underserved by the arts and the young people who might benefit from our work the most. We’re proud that more than 60% of our work in 2020 will happen outside of London.
Delivering this scale of work away from our base would be impossible without our incredible theatre venue partners: Birmingham REP Theatre and Manchester’s Royal Exchange (as well as Battersea Arts Centre in London). Partners offer us a base, an amazing venue to call our (temporary) home and access to their inside knowledge of excellent performers, stage managers and creatives in their regions. Over the last few years, our partners have introduced us to emerging artists through their young companies or participation departments, and we’ve taken some brilliant people into schools, theatres and libraries to create Adventures in Learning.
Having built teams and established bases away from home, we’ll reach further into communities in 2020; working with schools in more rural areas. In spring and summer we’ll bring our whole school Takeover, Save Our Stories to four schools in Tilbury, Essex. This adventure reveals that a scheming spy has infiltrated the Department for Education and passed a law that bans all stories from primary schools. Pupils are given one week to unite and save their stories. We hope children in Tilbury are up for some creative campaigning! We’ll then be working with the Royal Exchange’s Leigh and Wigan Ambassador’s Group to develop a bespoke Digital Ghost Hunt as part of their Local Exchange project. We’ve started researching local stories and potential ghostly candidates and we’re feeling pretty privileged that we get to create the next Ghost Hunt in the incredible location of Spinners Mill (a cotton mill built in 1913). We were thrilled that North Yorkshire Library Service were successful in their Arts Council bid to support us bringing Wardrobes to Scarborough in the summer. We’ll be working with Scarborough Museums Trust and North Yorkshire Library Service and four primary schools to send children on a mission to help heroes from Scarborough’s past, who have accidentally been catapulted through time. Pupils will visit the museum, experiencing immersive theatre and perform their own plays in their local library, ultimately saving the day. We’ll be working with the brilliant ARCADE, a producing company focused on community arts, based in Scarborough.
KIT’s company diary (as I imagine all small company diaries are) is a jigsaw of who’s doing what and where. With three of us making up KIT’s central team, it’s a conundrum of who is in which school/museum/library/meeting, in which town/city, wearing which bizarre costume/hat to blend in with the adventure. And while I’m sure all small companies function with a similar jigsaw puzzle challenge, ours just involves a lot more train ticket booking and travel time factored in (along with the unique delight of lugging a Time Machine or bright blue alien costume in tow). We had a brilliantly busy day recently where we were making giant robots with year 3 pupils in Southall (the robots came to life and caused chaos), digging for dinosaur fossils with reception children in Birmingham and testing out an AI android-teacher in a school in NW London.
Time we got ourselves a railcard…
If you’d like to explore taking part in one of our adventures, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org