Bringing History, Drama and the Local Community together through BA (Hons) Applied Drama

27.07.2015

Third-year students Amy Gronow and Nicole White put into practice the entrepreneurial, creative and organisational skills that they acquired through the Applied Drama degree to pull off an effective and rewarding Final Year Project: World War I through Drama.  

Students in their third year are given a “Final Project” where they are asked to design, organise and deliver a major community project. Amy and Nicole decided to engage and work with primary school and secondary school pupils to explore the experiences of the Great War on both the Western and Home Fronts.

Both students contacted a host of schools, 4 of which decided to partake in the sessions: year 6 pupils from Gors and Trallwn primary schools, in Swansea; Year 8 pupils from Dwr-y-felin in Neath and Cymmer Afan in Afan Valley. In order to fit around the schools’ timetables, Amy and Nicole planned and conducted lunchtime and after-school sessions for five days a week in each school.

A WWI military re-enactor, Roderick Hughes, was invited to one of these sessions, and creative writing and crafts work was inspired by the work in drama. These sessions gave the pupils the opportunity to understand, consider and appreciate the Great War and the possible emotions and attitudes of soldiers and citizens in an interactive and creative environment. The schools enjoyed the sessions so much, that several schools incorporated the project into their curriculum, requesting Amy and Nicole conduct extra afternoon sessions with their pupils.

The third-year students were able to use all the skills that they had learnt across their 3-year degree programme to create, organise, and successfully carry out a community project that had a wonderful impact on the pupils and schools. A primary school pupil from Trallwn Primary School had a great time: “I really enjoyed Amy and Nicole’s way of teaching because it is easier to learn when you’re having fun” (Trallwn Primary pupil); whilst teachers also saw the benefit for the pupils. Ms. Bowen, the Head of History at Dwr-y-Felin Comprehensive school in Neath, saw the workshops as a success: “Our pupils have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and this is proven by the fact that so many of them have chosen to give up their lunch time every day.” 

An exhibition of pupils’ written work was mounted in the Creative Bubble shop in Craddock Street after the conclusion of the final school’s project, illustrating the creativity and the confidence that the students gained from the experience.

Reflecting upon the impact UWTSD and her degree has had on her future career and personal development, Nicole White says: “Applied Drama has been a joy to be a part of. I want to be a teacher and I never imagined I would spend four weeks in four different schools teaching four different lots of children. It's amazing what you find out in each school and how different they are. Applied Drama gave me the tools to be able to handle all of this project.”