Partner School
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Billesley Primary School Billesley logo

@ A E Harris, 1st - 19th March, 18.30 & 20.30 (running time 70min)
(no perfs. Sundays or Mondays)

In September 2012 we officially started working with Billesley Primary School, our first partner school. Being a Partner School means having a long term collaborative relationship with Stan's Cafe, one in which the theatre company can be a valuable resource for the school, developing collaborative projects with staff and students that enrich the life of the school.

In Billesley we aim to work with all the students in the school once in a year; to engage parents as well as the wider school staff; to help the school plan and shape its ethos. We hope to help create outstanding moments in the school year that help energise and inspire everyone involved.

By collaborating with pupils and staff at Billesley Primary School we hope to challenge ourselves to make extraordinary art that we would never otherwise have made.

You can follow the links on the menu on the right get a taste of what has already happened. On 16th and 17th July a theatre show will be presented at MAC made in collaboration with the school. To date this is our biggest collective challenge. They are public performances so please do come and see how we get on.

A fuller story of how Stan's Cafe came to partner with Billesley Primary school is given below...

Throughout the history of Stan's Cafe education work has always been central to what we do. This has included making shows with higher education students, lectures, workshops, adult education, teacher training and a range of work in primary and secondary schools. Between 2002 and 2011 Arts Council England's Creative Partnerships initiative gave us a fantastic opportunity to work in a wide range of schools on an eclectic range of projects many of which are documented in the Education section of this website.

With Creative Partnerships coming to an end we were forced to reappraise how we could best continue to pursue the education work we value so highly. As we talked though previous projects it became clear that those we had found most rewarding and that seemed to have had the most impact in the schools we had worked with were those where we had had more sustained contact with the school. These projects had enabled us to build stronger relationships with the students and teachers and so to better understand how we could work with them.

This led us to think that instead of working in a number of schools on a series of discreet one-off projects it might be valuable to concentrate on working with one school over a longer period of time. We were interested in what it might mean to be a school's Theatre Company In Residence, to become part of the life of a school, to see more clearly how our work was having an impact and so improve our practice.

With support for this idea from Arts Council England as part of our funding agreement, we sent out letters to every local authority run school in Birmingham. We shortlisted and visited a number of schools and finally chose Billesley Primary School as our first partner school. Billesley is a two form entry school with a nursery in the south of Birmingham. When we started working with them they had just emerged from special measures. Now they are a thriving academy school, part of The Elliot Foundation. They have a fantastic site with lots of space both indoors and out which we have explored and used in a number of projects. The school works with a range of creative talents in addition to Stan's Cafe and we are proud to be part of the larger Billesley Team.

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