Author Archive

Juliet F
May 15th, 2018

2018/19 Programmes Now Available To Book

It’s been a busy few weeks at The Play House as we’ve been finalising our programme schedule for the coming academic year. After a number of caffeine fueled meetings and discussions, we are happy to present our new brochure for 2018/19.

Schools Programme Brochure 2018/19

Our programmes for 2018/19 address a range of themes and requirements from across the curriculum, including:

  • English – speaking & listening, more effective writing
  • Literacy and numeracy
  • British values
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • History – WW1
  • Science – earth and space, forces
  • SMSC – safeguarding,
  • Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSED)

CPDL INSET, residencies and bespoke projects.

We can also offer CPDL offer for teachers working with EYFS to KS2, tailor-made and timed to your requirements, with either individual schools or consortia.

Please get in touch if you would like to make a booking or discuss any of the programmes touring throughout 2018/19.

The Play House


Juliet F
January 5th, 2017

Half term historical adventures

**Update** – Both adventure days at the Museum are now sold out. The schools tour is almost fully booked too but there are still a handful of dates left so please get in touch if you would like to book this programme.


Rehearsals for Buried History, our new tour for KS2 exploring Anglo Saxon history and the Staffordshire Hoard are going really well. We’re working in partnership with Birmingham Museum on the project and have put together a special package of half term activities at the museum.

We’ve put together an Anglo Saxon drama adventure day that will run on both Wednesday 22nd February and Thursday 23rd February from 11am – 2pm. It costs just £3 per person and you’ll need to bring a packed lunch.

Book online here or phone: 0121 348 8038.

The day features a performance of Buried History, a chance to see the hoard itself and interactive activities exploring Anglo Saxon life and culture developed by digital specialists C&T.

Travel back in time to the 7th century, when the powerful Kingdom of Mercia was engaged in battles over territory between Christians and Pagans. It’s during this volatile time that it’s believed that the Staffordshire Hoard was buried.

Discovered by chance in a field by a metal detectorist, the Hoard is the largest cache of Anglo Saxon gold and silver ever found, comprising thousands of beautiful and intricate objects. Despite years of painstaking research, how and why it came to be buried and who it belonged to remains a mystery. Can you solve this archaeological whodunnit?

Please get in touch on 0121 265 4425 if you would like to book the version we deliver in schools this term. There are only a handful of dates available.


Juliet F
May 13th, 2016

Public Performances

First Stages at the REP

We regularly present versions of our touring programmes in the Door as part of the REP’s theatre for families programme, First Stages. It’s been a great opportunity for us to take our work to a wider audience outside of schools.

Next up is Hansel and Gretel on 21st May at 11.30am and 2pm.

Join Tattershawl, an eccentric traveller guide who will take you on a journey to unexpected destinations and dark secrets. This exciting reworking of the children’s classic uses our trademark participatory approach where the children will take the role of different characters from within the story, eventually helping to make a decision that pushes sibling rivalry to its limits.

Tickets for Hansel and Gretel are selling fast so get online to book here

On September 17th, Malcolm will be appearing in Uncle’s Story Shop. As part of the REP’s new autumn programme, tickets aren’t available yet, so follow us on Facebook or Twitter get get updates when they go on sale.


Juliet F
January 25th, 2013

Korean adventure

I have just returned from Seoul, Korea after a fantastic two week visit to workshop ideas for our new Early Years Language Alive programme, Nori (which means play in Korean) with Hanyong Theatre.

Alongside our director Peter Wynne Willson and Shropshire based composer and musician Mary Keith we worked with a really great group of Korean drama graduates, actors and a musician and designer.

We were based in a school in the Seongmisan Village where we were made to feel very welcome by members of the community.

We have returned with a wealth of ideas including songs, stories and settings shared and generated throughout the workshop period. The actual devising begins this Monday with Pete and Mary and Korean actor and drama practitioner Sosun Lee and myself will be touring Nori to Birmingham schools from late February.

Our translator and friend Yerang Seong will be glad to hear that the Ginger and Apple tea has been keeping me warm this week and I miss our civilised lunches and lots about Korea already!


Juliet F
July 31st, 2011

The end of an era?

For the last few years I have been lucky enough to be part of the Creative Partnerships programme led by Bright Space in Birmingham both as a creative agent and as a drama practitioner.

For 3 years I supported two lovely primary schools, Erdington Hall and Nonsuch Primary to work with artists and develop their creative curriculum. Teachers and children worked with outdoor visual artists, digital media artists, Mantle of the Expert practitioners, dancers, gardeners and a whole host of other creative practitioners. I hope the schools continue to work creatively to engage their children and I have found it fascinating to document the work. So a big thank you to the staff and children at both schools for making feel so welcome and for making me a much better project manager. Won’t miss the CP data base though!

I’ve also been reflecting on what I’ve learnt working on the projects that I delivered as a drama practitioner and storyteller and it’s hard to boil it down in a blog but here goes:

• Children are more confident as writers, speakers and thinkers if they feel a sense of ownership over a story and feel like they have participated in its making.

• Using a mixture of process led drama and performance techniques supports different kinds of learners.

• Stories are made to be told!

• A child’s imagination is often richer than the pictures in a book.

• Never expect children to respond to a story in the same way.

• Unlocking the imagination is the problem not a lack of imagination.

• Stepping into a story should mean just that – we go in together and grown ups need to be in role too!

I’ve worked in partnership with wonderful teachers across Birmingham and Coventry to use drama and story to develop children’s literacy, speaking and listening, imagination, writing, confidence and play. So thanks to Whitmore Park, Stanton Bridge, St John Vianney and All Souls primary schools in Coventry and to Hillstone, Skilts, Sundridge, St James R.C, Clifton, Anderton Park, Lillina de Lissa Nursery, Washwood Heath Day Care and Kingsthorne for having me.

Juliet F
November 16th, 2009

Missing out on play?

This half term was spent with a lovely bunch of ten children making up a collective story here at The Play House.  They ranged from seven years old to eleven and brought a host of wild and interesting ideas with them. It was sometimes a struggle to keep them all entertained.  I was amazed at how much they needed to just play – with ideas, situations, the drama space and each other.

It is making me think about working on relatively short projects and how much time we can give young people to ‘play’ without adult intervention.  Good quality small group drama demands a healthy dynamic and co operation but if you’re working with a group for just a few hours they need more time to develop these skills.

I’m often talking to teachers who mention that their children seem to lack imagination and I think some have often missed out on the chance to ‘act out’ and role play ideas, situations, characters and things they have imagined and seen.  It would be great to provide older children with more opportunities to do this in school.  But how?

The Play House has talked often of creating a multi sensory environment here at The Play House for children in Key Stage 2.  We have already created one for children in the Early Years with The Selkie Girl a few years ago.  That environment was crucial for children to understand the concept of the seaside in the Selkie story.  They played in a real wooden boat, collected shells and threw sand and none of this was particularly adult led.

I wonder what it would be like to offer older children that opportunity?  What environment would it be?  Should we work with even smaller groups and allow them lots of time to explore?  How would all of this impact on the drama?

Juliet F
June 18th, 2009

A magic potion…

I’m working with 10 year 1 and 2 children at Raddlebarn and St Mary’s Primary Schools in Selly Oak at the moment as part of an extended schools project.

It’s the highlight of my week to be greeted by such enthusiasm from them to delve into a story together in an empty and silent school.  Even though some are well into year 2 they have such a desire to play but their ideas are so rich with imagery.  Their imaginations are allowing them to see so much more than is actually there in reality.

Inspiring examples of this from children so far include…

– A glass bottle contains “a magic potion that will instantly shrink the wolf if sprinkled on him.”

-“We could pick wild strawberries from the woods and then we can make jam together.”

– Describing shadows moving deep in the forest and explaining, “she can feel that she is being followed, it’s just a feeling but it might come true!”

When the children say these things, and you see the teaching assistant or teacher react, it makes it all worthwhile!