What’s Happening at Unique Voice: Triple R to bullying
“Triple R” to bullying is definitely underway! 19th November marked the first of our many visits to secondary schools with “Repeat After Me”. For this weeks blog, Sarah takes a look back at the first stop of the tour, a visit to Orchard School.
As we piled out of a tiny clio with 6 desks, a banner and dressed in our school uniform this morning, it was clear that the Repeat After Me tour had begun! For our first tour date we visited Orchard school in North Bristol to perform to Year 7 and 8, along with the schools specially selected anti bullying champions. Whenever we perform in a secondary school I’m never quite sure what the students’ response to the performance will be. Repeat After Me in particular is filled with scenarios which could prompt incredibly strong reactions from the audience, and today in particular this was made incredibly clear to us. From start to finish we heard the shock, disgust and relief from our audience as the story unfolded before them.
I think its so important to reflect back situations such as these that occur in schools to the students. Often it takes viewing something from the outside to realise the impact it has on other people. In particular the character Carly prompted outrage from the students as she proceeded to steal a phone from her friend, spread rumours and break up relationships and indeed the comments from this audience proved their engagement and involvement within the piece. In the final scenes however we reduced them to silence. As Carly and Josh’s pasts were revealed they watched with empathy and understanding.
Today’s workshops felt pretty luxurious – rather than working with an entire year group we ran a workshop for 16 specially selected anti bullying champions. These students had been selected for various reasons. Some of them had been someway involved in bullying situations, others showed fantastic personal skills and as the workshop progressed it became clear why each of them had been selected. Together we explored what had happened in the play and focussed on what we could do to prevent and tackle bullying. Often a workshop ends and a part of me is frustrated that we don’t have more time to work with the students to explore their responses and to delve deeper into the issues surrounding our visit. Today however, we were able to work with this selected group for a whole three hours throughout the day. In the afternoon we conducted anti bullying training, encouraging the group to think about how they can continue the message of ‘Repeat After Me’ to their school and local primary schools. We worked with them to explore the use of role-play in spreading these messages and set them tasks such as making posters which can continue to spread these messages around their own school.
What most impressed me about their work today was their willingness and eagerness to explore all they could do to help others learn what they had done throughout the sessions. They offered intelligent explanations and compassionate responses in each and every activity and I’m sure they will do their school proud in the following months.
I cannot wait to continue to share this project with secondary schools over the coming weeks. Today reaffirmed for me how necessary and helpful this show can be in allowing students to really begin to tackle bullying in their schools.
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