Our residencies for students who have severe and moderate learning difficulties are typically a week long and take place in theatres, drama studios or school halls which we transform into theatre-like spaces. Each residency will have between 1 and 4 schools involved with a maximum of 24 students in total.
Example of an SLD/MLD residency
Residency at William Morris School, Walthamstow
A National Theatre / Bamboozle collaboration
“The residency gave our children confidence and the opportunity to do things by themselves rather than be stripped of their independence, as they often are at school, and particularly at home, because of their special needs. Bamoozle allowed time to let children do things for themselves unaided. The company instilled the belief that the students were capable of taking responsibility for themselves.” Helen Blairman – Moselle School
This week long residency was designed for students with higher level SLD and MLD. It was part of a programme of residencies that the National Theatre [NT] and Bamboozle undertook to make the NT’s Christmas production of War Horse accessible to students with learning difficulties. War Horse is an adaptation from a story by Michael Morpurgo about a horse from a Devon farm that is requisitioned for service in the First World War. The production is a collaboration between the NT and Hand Spring puppet company from South Africa.
School Hall at William Morris School, Walthamstow
The Residency Programme
The material for this residency centred round a narrative about a horse called ‘Billy’ which was requisitioned for the war. The horse’s owner, a young girl, had a brother who was a soldier in the trenches. The programme for the week, and the narrative, evolved each day in response to how the students had engaged with the previous day’s activities. During the week the students experienced engaging with actors in role, singing, solving moral dilemmas, creating soundscapes, using shadow screens and building trenches.
A couple of significant moments out of many
Jyoti is a girl without speech and with mobility difficulties, for example she found sitting on the floor uncomfortable and usually sat on a box. Because of these difficulties she is accustomed to receiving a lot of help and support. When her turn came to crawl under the camouflage net she stood up to approach the task and two members of staff immediately came to help. They were asked to wait so that we could see what happened. It took time but Jyoti struggled through but did it virtually unaided, another student helped her untangle her foot on one occasion. In the feedback she reported [by sign] that the camouflage net was her favourite bit. A considerable physical achievement.
During a visit by a class at the end of the day Aysha, a girl with very profound needs, stretched out her hand to touch the horse’s head. The staff were dumbfounded – they had never seen her reach out for ANYTHING before. The only time they had previously seen her reach out with her hands was to push things away.
Sharing of work
At the end of the week the students informally shared some of what they had been doing with an audience of parents, other students, staff and governors.
8 students 3 staff from Whitefield Schools & Centre. Walthamstow
8 students 2 staff from William Morris School, Walthamstow
8 students 2 staff from Moselle School, Harringay
All except one of the students had spoken language.
At the end of each day’s activities class groups who were not involved in the residency came with their staff into the space to meet the horse and explore the multi-sensory environment.
Christopher Davies, facilitator
Sue Pyecroft, set designer/puppet maker
Giulia Innocenti, puppeteer/actor
Michelle Reader, visual artist/sculptor
Simon Marlow, technician
Michael Clegg-ButtTeacher, Parayhouse School More testimonials »