Our TiE project helps over 1,800 kids with the transition to Big School

Posted on 20 June 2013

Our Theatre in Education (TiE) project, Big School, has just finished its latest tour of local primary schools to help Year Six pupils deal with the transition from primary to secondary school.

Delivered in partnership with the local education authority, the Big School project has been touring local primary schools in Coventry since 1999. This year, over 1,800 pupils from 40 different primary schools experienced the interactive production called Becoming Me, which was written by award-winning children’s playwright Marielle van Sauers.

Becoming Me tells the story of a group of adults who return to their primary school to talk to year six pupils about how to deal with the challenges ahead. Being in their old school brings back memories of their own transition to secondary school and they quickly move away from delivering a speech into the performance of their memories; from their last day of primary, through the long summer holidays to the first day of secondary school.

The play, which was directed by Therese Collins, is based on a series of workshops carried out with Aldermoor Farm Primary School and Barrs Hill Secondary School, in which the older students encouraged the younger students to be themselves when making the transition to secondary school.

Janthi Mills, General Manager of the Belgrade Theatre said, “The Big School project is an integral part of our Community & Education programme and we are very proud to have helped many thousands of local young children with the difficult transition from primary to secondary school especially as we near the 50th anniversary of TiE. This production, Becoming Me, enables the young people to see that they are coping with changes all the time, and therefore have the tools and resources to manage any challenges moving from primary to secondary school may bring. Throughout the play the young people have an opportunity to interact with the actors identifying potential fears that starting secondary school poses, such as the fear of bullying, getting lost in a larger school building, finding the work harder and having more than one teacher.”

The characters in Becoming Me were played by actors Shereena Glean, Kim Hackleman and local actor Jon Morris, who first began acting as a member of the Belgrade Youth Theatre.

As in previous years, a number of primary schools got to watch the production at a secondary school, allowing them to get an early taste of the sort of environment they will soon be learning in.

The groundbreaking TiE movement was pioneered by the Belgrade in 1965 as a way to use theatre and drama to create a range of learning opportunities for young people. Actors from the Belgrade would tour local schools where they would perform short pieces of theatre and lead workshops that allowed students to explore important issues and ideas in active and creative ways.

In 2015 the Belgrade will celebrate the 50th anniversary of TiE.

Organisations or individuals wishing to get involved in the work of the Community & Education Company should contact us on 024 7684 6741 or

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