This summer, The Met has been a hive of activity for communities and children and young people, both within our venue and out in Bury. This blog will give a round-up of all the different things that we have been up to during this busy period.
Making plans with the National Citizen Service
Our first engagement was a series of sessions with Bury’s National Citizen Service. NCS is a national programme for young people aged 16 and 17 to get out into their community, learn new skills, challenge themselves and get involved in social action. We were asked to deliver a challenge to the young people on the Bury programme to help them gain an understanding of the charities sector and how arts businesses operate. We challenged them to create a proposal for a young people’s membership scheme at The Met which enabled us to learn a huge amount from them about how they see us as a venue and what they would like from us.
In the first week of the Summer Holiday, we ran our Bubble Up programme at Brandlesholme Community Centre. This was a week of activity funded by Curious Minds that was geared towards supporting young people in Years 6,7 and 8 who had missed out on their transition projects when moving from Primary to Secondary school during the pandemic. During this week, BYT leader Madeleine worked alongside music practitioner Katie Geelan and dance and movement worker Danielle Hutchinson to enable young people from the Brandlesholme community to explore new skills and develop their own pieces of performance.
Drama Workshops with Springs Tenants Association
After running some online sessions earlier on in the year and working with local families to distribute various creative kits during the lockdowns, we were asked to come and deliver some in person drama workshops to children from the Springs area during the summer holiday. Drama practitioner Kelsea Bennett delivered a series of four workshops, two at the local children’s centre and two at The Met. The children were all aged between 7 and 14 and had a great time learning new drama skills and creating their own work. Many of them had not done drama before and we really hope to see them at The Met again very soon.
Holiday Activity and Food Programme at Brandlesholme
This year saw the national roll-out of the Holiday Activity and Food programme; a scheme to provide fun and enriching activities to young people on free school meals alongside a nutritious lunch to keep them sustained during the school holidays. We worked alongside Brandlesholme Community Centre to deliver a programme of activities for young people in this community. This included working with partners, Prestwich based Tactile Arts to deliver visual arts workshops, Small Things Creative delivering a workshop connected to the Town of Culture programme and local musician Callum Etherington leading a percussion workshop.
Summer School Support with Philips High
We were invited to come and support Philips High School with their Summer School for children starting in Year 7 in September. This year, these summer schools have been supported by the Government as a way to try and help young people who have not had the chance to socialise and practice their social skills during the pandemic and, hopefully, reduce any anxiety they might have about moving up to High School. We brought artists Oliver Bishop, Kelsea Bennett and Anna McLuckie in to run workshops in drama, music and storytelling to help the children express themselves and share their experiences with others. We got some great feedback from the day and can’t wait to work with Philips High students again.
Looked After Children
Continuing on from our work with the Children in Care Council during the Spring term, we delivered a one-off drama workshop for a group of Looked After Children at The Met in August. A group of children came for dinner at Automatic and followed up with a fun and active drama workshop which got the children thinking creatively, developing their communication skills and making their own weird and wonderful characters.
The Met’s Summer School
Back for another year, our successful Summer School brings together children aged between 5 and 10 to work for three days to create a brand new piece of theatre. This year the children worked on their own version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, learning skills in character development, physical theatre and shadow puppetry.
As well as bringing a host of brilliant music acts to Burrs Park, we also created a programme of family and community events around Burrs Live. This kicked off with workshops led by Yan Tan Tethera and Neil Greenhalgh, encouraging family groups to use storytelling and art to explore the beauty and magic of Burrs Park. We then brought a wealth of different artists to our Head for the Hills weekend to ensure that there was always something to keep the children entertained. This included Circus Skills with Skylight Circus, big art with Toubie Jack, Storytelling with Gav Cross and carnival arts with Global Grooves. Burrs Live also hosted our Feast of Hope event on 2nd September which brought together friends from Bury Asian Women’s Centre and Brandlesholme Foodbank to share some food, music and chat.