Applied Theatre: Understanding and challenging racism with young audiences

Hello everyone and welcome back to my blog! This is Theodora Li and I’m a current second year BA (Hons) Applied and Contemporary Theatre student at Guildford School of Acting. During teaching block 1, one of our main projects is to devise a performance/workshop for children under 6 years old.

We are very grateful to have the opportunity to perform at Pippa’s House Nursery in Guildford. Both staff and children expressed much interest in our piece!

Our play is called ‘Penny’s Woodland Welcome’. The narrative follows Penny the polar bear, who has left the north pole and attempts to find a new home in the woodlands. However, upon her arrival, she discovers that the animals refuse to accept her due to her physical appearances. As she decides to leave the woodlands, she encounters the animals again and helps them overcome their physical limitations. The main message of the piece is that we are all special in our own way, and being different is good.

We has chosen to focus on the themes of racial inequalities, migration and acts of othering as we see a rising number in minority ethnic groups in Guildford and the wider UK community. It shows there is a growing importance for the younger generation to embrace and encourage diversity.

Our project is majorly informed by the critical race theory, which suggests racism exists not only based on indivisuals’ prejudices, but in a systemic form in society, from laws to media. It is important for us as members in the society to stand with those experiencing acts of othering, instead of making them responsible for the change. By expressing the importance of treasuring one’s own identity, we hope this play empowers our young audiences and builds their awareness of inclusivity.

Here are some of the photos from behind the scenes!

Sticking leaves to our set to create a woodland scenery!
Penny is a bit disappointed about her journey…
Final song to celebrate differences!

Hope you enjoyed reading about our project, and gain more insight into what our course offers! To learn more, follow @guildfordschoolofacting and @gsa_appliedtheatre on Instagramđź’›