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Room to Grow - Big School comes back to the Belgrade Theatre

Posted on 13 May 2019

Families in Coventry and Warwickshire are invited to explore the challenges of changing schools in an interactive theatre experience coming to the Belgrade Theatre this month.

Showing on Fri 31 May and Sat 1 June, Room to Grow tells the story of Mo as he prepares to make the move up to secondary school. With the last day of term looming, Mo isn’t sure that he’s quite ready yet. He’d much rather hang out in his den and play than worry about new teachers, big kids and his very large blazer.

To make matters worse, he’ll be leaving his best friend Ash behind at primary school, since she’s not in the same year as him. He really needs someone to talk to, but his dad’s away, and right now, Ash has problems of her own to deal with – so he’s going to need your help to get himself ready for Big School.

Developed by expert theatre practitioners in Coventry, Room to Grow is the latest instalment in the Belgrade’s Big School series, which has been bringing live performance into schools across Coventry and Warwickshire for over 20 years, continuing the pioneering work of the Belgrade’s Theatre in Education programme.

Since 1965, trailblazing actor-teachers from the Belgrade have been touring local schools to perform short pieces of theatre and lead workshops, creating space for learners to explore important issues and ideas, and sparking a movement that has spread across the world.

Room to Grow performer and co-creator Leon Philips said: “The Big School programme is a really important part of our work at the Belgrade, as it gives children a chance to voice their opinions and say what they need to say in a way that they are often unused to. It is sharing their thoughts, fears and ideas and the space they are given to do so that allows them to feel empowered and important.”

Aimed at children aged 8-11, the Belgrade’s annual Big School show combines performance with participatory activities designed to help children explore their own feelings about change, and equip them with the tools to face new challenges.

This year, for the first time ever, Big School will also be performed at the Belgrade Theatre itself, enabling parents and children to experience the story together outside of a school setting.

Big School participants at Wyken Croft School in 2018 said:

“We found the play very inspirational and helpful because it talks about how to go through secondary school, especially if you’ve got younger friends. I really liked that it was interactive and I think it cures your worries too.”

“I felt that the parts where we were split into groups to discuss the story, that was really helpful because we could say what we actually thought.”

Big School is generously supported by the Ernest Cook Trust and a number of generous individual donors. As a registered charity (number 219163), the Belgrade is reliant on funding from corporate partners, members, audiences and more to continue its work with young people in the community. To find out more or to help support our work in the community, visit our Support Us page, or email developmentadmin@belgrade.co.uk.

Room to Grow shows at the Belgrade Theatre on Friday 31 May and Saturday 1 June. Tickets are available to book now.