Who's Who of the July Festival...Highly Sprung

Posted on 16 July 2015

Can you tell us a little about the history of the group and its mission?

In 2003 Highly Sprung established weekly workshops in Coventry for children aged 4-21, providing an exciting and supportive environment to discover and develop physical theatre skills and creativity, through a variety of different opportunities.

Physical theatre is the main art form used at Sprungsters, incorporating drama, dance and voice work, to develop the imagination, promote creativity and increase movement ability in those that take part.

The use of physical theatre is unique to Sprungsters, which has led to the group being recognised as an important contributor to the arts in the region.

Who is eligible to join the group?

Sprungsters is open to all from ages 4 – 21. The group performing at the Belgrade are our Sprungsters Advance group, entrance to which is by invitation only, however we welcome applications from any young person aged 13+ with a passion for making new performance, working collaboratively with others, with a strong sense commitment and determination to achieve excellent results.

What types of project have you worked on in the past and what are you working on currently?

In the past Sprungsters Advance have been selected to be part of The National Theatre’s Connections Festival for young people, a national festival of new plays for young people. They have also been a part of a literature festival with Warwick libraries performing to an audience of over 1800 people and in December 2014, the Sprungsters performed a site-specific adaptation of The Nutcracker at FarGo Village.

Sprungsters Advance also produce at least one full-scale performance each year. The group produces the headline performance at The Physical Fellowship at The Belgrade, Coventry, as part of the UK’s only physical theatre festival specifically for young people. Last July our group of Young Producers who were working on their Silver Arts Award created the headline performance of PALs. The group (and the Young Producers) have been working on this year’s production of Pages, as the headline performance of this year’s Physical Fellowship (13th-16th July 2015)

Tell us a little more about the production/performance piece you will be presenting as part of the July Festival weekend?

The headline performance of Pages by Sprungsters showcases the potential of physical performance by some of Coventry’s most talented young performers. Pages looks at that certain something in books, that something we can’t imagine, that takes us by surprise, there is magic in books, they stitch together patches of the universe into something spectacular.
Stuff your eyes with wonder, see the whole world written in books. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.

Is this the group’s first experience of taking their work on the road? What do you hope the participants will take from their experience?

Sprungsters have performed in a variety of places, warehouses, libraries, in town centres, as part of carnivals and at a number of theatres. They are however looking forward to performing this year on the main stage at the Belgrade, having previously performed in B2.

We hope that the participants will have a sense of achievement at creating a piece of professional theatre with which to headline our Physical Fellowship Festival, as well as part of the TIE festival. For those Sprungsters who are working towards their Silver Arts Award, Pages will form an important part of their work towards this award. Sprungsters Advance gives young people the opportunity to gain experience as a professional performance company for one night a week.

Why, in your opinion, is it important to invest in the creation of work by and for young people?

In all projects Highly Sprung aim to empower children and young people with the skills to achieve. We want to engage children and young people as performers, participants and audience in and outside of formal education. It is important to invest in this work both by and for young people to inspire ambition and creativity, by opening up alternative avenues for young people to explore the world around them, to develop a means of expression to communicate their opinions, to gain a voice. It lays the foundations for a love or interest in the arts that might then become part of their future, as audiences, supporters and sometimes creatives. Investing in this type of work promotes access beyond the young people who participate or attend the events, often extending the experience to involve friends and family, who then experience and appreciate the arts also.

I Support Drama In Schools because…..

Drama in schools represents an opportunity for young people to find ways to express themselves as individuals and make connections with the people and world around them. Drama often invites a response that takes young people beyond their self-perceived limitations opening up possibilities for them to achieve beyond expectation, to engage more fully in their learning and to find enjoyment, excitement and passion for education and the arts now and in the future.