Hebburn children get a lesson in panto performance

Pupils and teachers from Hebburn Lakes with Elizabeth Kane, back row centre, and Ray Spencer, front, who plays the Dame in Alice in Wonderland
Pupils and teachers from Hebburn Lakes with Elizabeth Kane, back row centre, and Ray Spencer, front, who plays the Dame in Alice in Wonderland

There have been more laughs than usual during lessons at a Hebburn primary school.

Year 4 pupils at Hebburn Lakes Primary School have been working on a pioneering new project with the Customs House, South Shields.

It’s an ideal way to help children get the most out of the panto experience and introduce them to the Arts Award.

Elizabeth Kane, cultural development assistant at the Customs House

They’ve been taking part in a scheme called Discover Panto with the stars of the Mill Dam theatre’s festive show Alice in Wonderland.

As well as teaching pupils about the popular form of theatre, the project has introduced the school to Arts Award, an initiative that inspires children and young people to grow their creativity, communication and leadership skills.

Elizabeth Kane, cultural development assistant at the Customs House, has been working with the school.

She said: “We’ve really enjoyed working with the 38 pupils at Hebburn Lakes, and it’s been a great way to trial the project.

“It’s an ideal way to help children get the most out of the panto experience and introduce them to the Arts Award. I worked with teacher Laura Martin to put an activity plan together looking at different art forms involved in producing a panto including costume and set design as well as acting.”

All of the pupils who complete the project will get a Discover Arts Award certificate.

Elizabeth added: “The school comes every year to see the panto, so they were a natural choice for us. They completed some work before attending the Alice in Wonderland panto on December 9, and are now completing more work in their classrooms.

“I’ll be visiting Hebburn Lakes to talk to them about the panto and then award the pupils with their certificates.

“Both teachers and pupils benefit from the project – the teachers are getting to grips with Arts Award and are supported in teaching the arts, while pupils are developing their skills, particularly around thinking critically about what they’d seen.

“We hope it’s something other schools will enjoy taking part in next year and would love to hear from teachers interested in finding out more.”

Teachers interested in taking part can contact Elizabeth at Elizabeth@customshouse.co.uk

The Customs House has been delivering the Arts Award since 2008 and is now the strategic lead for Culture Bridge North East and the No1 venue for Arts Award delivery in the North East.

Last year, the Customs House gained Good Practice status for Arts Award, one of only 19 venues with such an accolade in the UK.

The scheme, which can be achieved at five levels, is administered through Trinity College in London.