Working with The Lowry: Sue Smith – St. Sebastian’s RC Primary School

A chance conversation with an artist in residence at the Lowry and acceptance of an invitation to be part of the Teacher’s Advisory Panel has evolved into an extraordinary journey of discovery for the staff and pupils of St Sebastian’s. It has been and hopefully will continue to be a journey filled with excitement, fun, awe and wonder! It is also a journey that has included many and varied forms of art which to our school community is what the Lowry stands for and provides. Casting my mind back I would say that the journey started in 2011 after the first meeting of the advisory panel and it has enriched the many rareas of the curriculum. These are areas through which we look to celebrate and develop the many diverse talents of our children by providing a wealth of experiences both in and out of school.

Providing our children with what can be those sometimes life changing experiences and developing talents needs a high quality resource such as The Lowry. A resource that can be mobile and accessed on or off site. Our workshops have taken both forms, one, which was called Salford Past and Present looked at the history of the Quays and. It allowed the children to travel back in time visually and emotionally through drama, pictures and art. However I personally feel the real jewel in the Lowry crown and the ultimate experience, in amongst the many, has got to be the 2013-2014 project War Horse.

History came to life, resources were brought into school , puppeteers and others shared their craft and the white gloves of the curator were donned to help the children handle artefacts, experiencing and understanding life in WW1 both at home and in the trenches. Young minds and hearts were taken on a journey that will also form part of our centenary celebrations of WW1. We have met many talented and helpful people during the War Horse project. These include the National Theatre, Lindsey Sullivan and many others that brought their talents into our school and allowed us to share and experience an unforgettable few weeks ending in a performance through song and drama on the stage in March of this year. Our children were able to shine like the superstars they are,  it was amazing!

The behind the scenes tour, meeting the cast and watching the actual performance of War Horse was both thrilling and emotional and that was just when you saw the reaction of their faces to each part of that day. Not only will they carry that with them forever so will I.It is a partnership and resource that enriches,long may it continue. Finally to sum up the impact I really need to quote one of my children who when we saw the actual production on stage said , “This is awesome!” I for one think that sums it up!