Council and Coliseum Collaborate to put Schools on Stage

Date Released - 23/08/2022

FOUR Tameside high schools have had a rare chance to perform on a professional theatre stage thanks to the council’s cultural services team and Oldham Coliseum’s secondary education partnership scheme.

Pupils from Alder Community High, Hyde; Samuel Laycock, Ashton; Mossley Hollins and St Thomas More RC College, Denton; helped to produce inter-linking performances which were watched by the Civic Mayor and Mayoress of Tameside, Cllr Michael Glover and Mrs Anne Gordon, and Cllr Leanne Feeley, executive member for education, achievement and equalities.

Local writers worked with the schools and the Coliseum to explore themes of belonging, safe spaces and connection under the heading “Homecoming”.

The aim of the secondary education partnership scheme is to inspire young people through cultural activity so they become immersed in the creative process and gain knowledge and understanding of all aspects of theatre production.

Pupils get involved in various activities and workshops, from masterclasses linked to anything from Brecht to improvisation, and design to devising theatre.

The inter-school festival allows pupils to appear in a collaborative, main stage production at the Coliseum, supported by the theatre’s artistic and technical teams. There is also the opportunity to participate in a theatre experience morning, as well as receiving free tickets to Coliseum performances. In addition, each can achieve an Arts Award.

Cllr Feeley said: “This excellent scheme creates moments which stimulate, teach, excite and inspire. They are magical moments young people will never forget.

“I believe the experience the Tameside schools have gained from this drama project is immeasurable and is something that will stay with them. What they have learned about the theatre, its discipline and collaborative spirit, will yield many benefits.”

An Oldham Coliseum spokesperson added: “The secondary partnership scheme is the backbone of our education programme. It enriches and positively impacts all the participants and communities it reaches.” 

A spokesperson for Mossley Hollins High School commented: “This is our second year with the scheme and both have been extremely beneficial.

“Our group have not only developed an understanding of the professionalism and attention to detail required to produce a quality performance, but have been exposed to the ways other schools create original drama.

“They have developed their confidence and creative skills in preparation for their GCSE drama course.”