Pupils from three Thamesmead schools have proved themselves to be stars of the show in a new play commissioned by Trust Thamesmead.
Developed from the highly-acclaimed schools project ‘T'riffic Thamesmead' Thamesmead Travelled is a three act play which gives past, present and future glimpses into the lives and times of a community and celebrates the hidden jewel that is Thamesmead.
For the past few weeks directors from Greenwich and Lewisham Young People's Theatre have been working with pupils from Woolwich Polytechnic School, Heronsgate Primary School and Linton Mead Primary School in a workshop environment to develop the production which was performed in all three schools and at an invitation-only gala performance at Thamesmere Leisure Centre on Friday (5 December).
The project, which has been part funded by Greenwich Council is part of ‘T'riffic Thamesmead', an exciting education resource developed by Trust Thamesmead and local primary schools which is designed to raise awareness among local schoolchildren of Thamesmead's history and heritage and to encourage a sense of civic pride and belonging among young people living in the area and the wider community.
Councillor John Fahy, Greenwich Council Cabinet Member for Culture and the Olympics, said: “This has been a great opportunity for young people of all ages to come together within a creative environment and produce a piece of drama which celebrates the rich history of Thamesmead. Congratulations to all those pupils who have taken part and I'm sure that they have been greatly enthused and learned a lot from their experiences.”
Trust Thamesmead Chief Executive Mick Hayes said: “We are very proud of the T'riffic Thamesmead project and the way in which all schools in Thamesmead have embraced it. There is real evidence that the work being done in the classroom is making a real difference to the children's appreciation and understanding of where they live.
“This play is a wonderful development but we don't want it to end here. The Trust's remit is to serve the entire Thamesmead community, whether on the Greenwich or Bexley side of the boundary, and so we will be seeking to extend the project into other Thamesmead schools in the future.”
Four shows were performed last week; one at each of the schools and a gala evening held at Thamesmere Leisure Centre on Friday night, which Erith and Thamesmead MP John Austin attended, he said: “If you're like me, you will be fed up with Thamesmead being shown in a negative light. Tonight has shown we are ‘top of the league'!
“Tremendous opportunities are coming to Thamesmead with Sporting Club Thamesmead and the arches development; it will provide great opportunities for young people and the wider community.
“I feel confident with the future of Thamesmead.”
Woolwich Polytechnic teacher Imogen Woolrich said: “As a teacher I feel it made the boys really invest in something with a sense of group pride and gave them and idea of the discipline a performer needs.”
The following were quotes sent from various boys from Woolwich Poly who took part in the performance:
‘It felt like we were professionals because we got to perform in front of an audience.'
‘Performing with other students helped me communicate better with other students.'
‘I feel like a better actor.'
‘Excellent-I liked how we were really tested for our parts.'
‘It's boosted my self confidence.'
T'riffic Thamesmead was launched in 2008 when more than 700 students participated in Year One, producing some impressive portfolios of work.
Since then the project's reach has been extended with presentations and film nights based on the pack's resources to a wide range of community groups of all ages.