Spirit of Youth is an intergenerational project, which tackles social isolation and builds connections across the community by taking primary school children into local residential homes. After a long covid-enforced break, Rob Cann explains what it was like to restart the programme…
Are we all met?
We were delighted to finally resume their popular and exciting Spirit of Youth programme this Spring. Over the past few weeks, a specially selected group of students from Bushy Hill Junior School made regular visits to some of the residents at Sunset Homes in Merrow. Once a week, ten students walked from their school to Sunset Homes and worked together with the residents towards a production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
It is fair to say that both students and residents were a little apprehensive at the start of this project. To help ease the nerves both groups made a short ‘hello’ introduction video to send to one another. This meant that when they met on the first day, they could recognise each other and talk about their hobbies and interests.
The script was devised using Shakespeare’s original words (with a few imaginative suggestions from both adults and children alike). They played some drama games together and practiced physical and vocal warm-ups. They then began exploring the characters, rehearsing the scenes each week and choosing their props and costumes.
I have had a most rare vision
What is remarkable about this project is just how much the youngsters have developed in their confidence and how their energy and enthusiasm was enjoyed by the residents. Over the few short sessions, new friendships were made, stories were shared, and a funny, lively performance was given during the final session at Sunset Homes for other residents, parents, and guests.
We are looking forward to seeing the residents and school children again and working together on an exciting re-telling of Shakespeare’s magical story of The Tempest for the summer term. For more information on this or any of our other incredible outreach projects please visit our website.