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Theatre company offers children arts lessons after new show postponed

PUBLISHED: 14:36 05 August 2020 | UPDATED: 15:43 06 August 2020

Children enjoying the Fun & Food sessions in Mile Cross being run by The Common Lot. Picture: Ann Nicholls

Children enjoying the Fun & Food sessions in Mile Cross being run by The Common Lot. Picture: Ann Nicholls

Ann Nicholls

A theatre company forced to postpone work on its latest production bringing local history to life is instead offering children who have missed out on weeks of school the chance to get creative this summer.

Fun & Food sessions in Mile Cross being run by The Common Lot include drama, music, arts and photography. Picture: Ann NichollsFun & Food sessions in Mile Cross being run by The Common Lot include drama, music, arts and photography. Picture: Ann Nicholls

Norwich-based theatre company The Common Lot had been due to begin an 18 month project in Mile Cross to create a major community performance work celebrating 100 years of social housing.

However the pandemic has meant the project, which had the support of four local schools, Mile Cross Primary, Angel Road Junior, Catton Grove Primary and Sewell Park Academy, has had to be postponed.

Instead the company is running two weeks of summer holiday workshops giving children the opportunity to try drama and performance, music, art and photography.

The Fun & Food sessions will continue in Mile Cross on August 17-21. Picture: Ann NichollsThe Fun & Food sessions will continue in Mile Cross on August 17-21. Picture: Ann Nicholls

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Funded by the Norwich Opportunity Area, the Chivers Trust and Norwich Consolidated Charities, the sessions also include free hot takeaway meals for children and their families.

Duncan Joseph, schools lead for The Common Lot, said: “The project has been created in response to the Covid-19 crisis and how it has impacted on children’s learning, opportunities to work collaboratively and have fun, and the gap left by school meals during the crisis and the summer break.”

Mr Joseph said the first week had involved 30 creative workshops in socially distanced groups of five in the grounds of St Catherine’s Church on Aylsham Road, with over 200 hot meals cooked by chef Noah Salibo.

The cast of Anglia Square: A Love Story by The Common Lot which was performed at locations around Norwich in 2019. Picture: Robert EkeThe cast of Anglia Square: A Love Story by The Common Lot which was performed at locations around Norwich in 2019. Picture: Robert Eke

The next Food & Fun sessions will take place from August 17-21.

Performance sessions were led by Common Lot creative director Simon Floyd and Mr Joseph have seen children learn stagecraft and create short drama pieces based on historic photos of Mile Cross.

Youngsters also got to make homemade instruments, creating a junk band, and trying their hand at printing and photography.

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The Common Lot’s previous productions have included 1549: The Story of Kett’s Rebellion, Boudicca: The Pantomime and Come Yew In! A Proud History of Strangers in Norwich.

Last year 100 local volunteer performers, including children from five schools, were involved in their musical Anglia Square: A Love Story.

Mr Joseph said their postponed next production would have included a procession through Mile Cross building to a big open air performance in summer 2021.

He said: “Although this has been put on hold for now, Food & Fun is an alternative start to this project, looking at historic photos, starting to engage with the community and build creative relationships.”

• For more details on the Fun & Food sessions meet at the Phoenix Centre between 11.30am and 1pm each day whilst Norfolk Unite Community are distributing holiday lunches. You can also pick up free creative packs for things to do at home.


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