Follow the Bookworm Public Performances

We’re very excited to announce that our brand new interactive children’s theatre piece, Follow the Bookworm, is going to be touring round most of the libraries in Sandwell. We’d love to see you there so check the list of dates below and call your local library to find out more information about how to get your place!

Wed 29 May Stone Cross 0121 569 4942
Thurs 30 May Wednesbury 0121 569 4945
Mon 3 June Blackheath 0121 569 4920
Thur 27 June Great Barr 0121 569 4929
Thur 4 July Glebefields 0121 569 4928
Tues 9 July Langley 0121 569 4932
Thur 11 July Oldbury 0121 569 4955
Mon 15 July Tipton 0121 569 4944
Tues 16 July Thimblemill 0121 569 4943
Mon 22 July Hamstead 0121 569 2548
Tues 23 July Bleakhouse 0121 569 4923
Wed 24 July Cradley Heath 0121 569 4926
Thur 25 July Smethwick 0121 569 4940

follow the bookworm the play house theatre in education birmingham


Knife Crime in Birmingham

Walking down New Street under blue skies that stretch over the beautiful Birmingham, it is astounding to see The Knife Angel appear over the horizon. The 27ft tall monument, built entirely out of knives and weapons that have been surrendered to police forces across the UK, is a stark reminder of the national crisis our young people are facing.

Knife-related homicides are at their highest level since recording began in 1946.
285 people were killed by knives and sharp instruments in 2017/18.

The Knife Angel is a great example of how organisations can use their expertise to play their part in raising awareness of the severity of the knife crime crisis and to support young people who may be impacted.

We recognise that as a theatre in education company made up of proud Brummies, we have a responsibility to create a theatre programme that provides a space for children and young people to explore these issues.
This summer term we’re working with students from over 10 schools across Birmingham to co-create a knife crime theatre in education programme, which we will then tour to schools in the next academic year.

If you want to find out more, please get in touch:


We’re hiring a General Manager

The Play House are looking to appoint an entrepreneurial and ambitious General Manager to work in partnership with the board to lead the charity forwards.
The Play House Theatre In Education Charity uses participatory theatre and drama to support the language and learning of children and young people. We aim to stimulate children’s imagination and creativity, with meaningful participation at the heart of everything we do.
The General Manager will be responsible for leading a multi-skilled team; creating additional revenue streams and sponsorship income; implementing growth plans; and growing the charities reputation locally, regionally and nationally with stakeholders and schools.  Following a strategic review, and the implementation of an Artistic Lead, and Marketing and Sales Assistant, this role will be pivatol in ensuring the charity continues the success it has had for over 30 years.

Download the General Manager Job Description

For an application form please email Rebecca at 


Daughters of Invention – Encouraging girls into science.

To celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in Science today, Juliet Fry (Artistic Director) has written a reflection piece on our recent commission project, Daughters of Invention.

I have just finished working on our Royal Academy of Engineers Ingenious drama and engineering project in 4 Birmingham primary schools and have been totally inspired by the energy, confidence and skills of our PhD and MEng students and the Year 4 and 5 children.

Our drama brought to life 18th century Birmingham engineer, Sarah Guppy, to try and inspire her female ancestor to find her true vocation now in 2019.  Alongside this the children were faced with a bio medical problem to solve involving the England Women’s World Cup team.  Each school had their own pair of real-life female Bio Medical Engineers on hand to share their skills and help the children realise their ideas.  I saw the engineers grow in confidence to work with the children, to share their stories and to facilitate the children’s learning in a really dynamic and fun way.

The children involved have found out what it means to be an engineer and about the fabulous female engineers of the past, present and future. We are very excited to be seeing the children’s inventions and sharing more stories at University of Birmingham 28th February at our celebration event.

The feedback from teachers, children and students has been overwhelmingly positive.

“My confidence grew over the weeks which made me comfortable enough to tell my engineering story confidently and naturally. It was nice to know that my story could potentially encourage or inspire someone in any way shape or form.”

Abigail Asante MEng student University of Birmingham

“I learnt that girls can be engineers as well. I also learnt that there are different types of engineers. It was an awe-inspiring experience.”

Year 5 Girl Percy Shurmer Academy, Birmingham

“To be an engineer you have to imagine the solution to a problem and never give up even if it goes a bit wrong because one day it might work.”

Year 4 Girl Conway Primary School, Birmingham


International Women in Science Day


Hello 2019!

We’re back! We’ve put down the half-eaten boxes of chocolates, tidied away the tinsel and put on our brand-new Christmas socks and made it back to work today.

After a quick catch up between the team about our Christmas break, our focus soon turns to what is coming up in this new term… and we’re all very excited about it!

This term we’re really covering all bases. We’ve got programmes covering Science, English, PSHE, British Values and more. There is bound to be something for your class.

Have a look at our Spring programmes below, and don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you want more information or want to book!

Spring 2019 Theatre in Education Programme by The Play House, Birmingham

Early Years

Things That Go Bump
A programme that supports the Early Years Framework in:
Communication and Language | Personal | Social and Emotional Development | Understanding the World.

A multi-sensory programme exploring children’s fears, developing self-confidence and encouraging working together through an imaginary bedtime story.


Key Stage 1

Uncle’s Story Shop
Covering key aspects of the curriculum such as:
Spoken language | Storytelling | Describing & Explaining

Our popular storytelling programme encourages children to choose from a strange collection of objects, respond to music and draw pictures as inspiration for the creation of new stories and consider their value in the modern world.


Key Stage 2

A programme covering aspects of Science, History and English:
Earth and Space | Forces | English | History

An interactive science drama where children go back in time to investigate Galileo’s astronomical experiments and observations of the planets. The children then defend him and his theories at the court of the inquisition.


Key Stage 3

Commissioned by the Home Office, this programme is specifically designed for Prevent.

A dynamic participatory theatre-in-education tour for 13-18 year olds which explores the implications and consequences of extremist thinking and action. Tapestry provides a unique stimulus for young people, teachers and youth leaders to begin to explore this sensitive and complex issue in a supportive environment.


“I’m never going to wash the circle off!”

This blog was written by Malcolm Jennings, one of our longest serving Actor/Teachers. Malcolm is the Tour Leader of Careless Talk and has been delivering the programme to year 5 + 6 groups across the West Midlands.

“From the Circle in our Hands
To the Circle in our Hearts
To the Circle in our minds,
To the Circle in us all.”

Taken from the Careless Talk script. 

The Play House Theatre in Education Careless Talk The Circle Key Stage 2 West Midlands
“I am never going to wash the circle off” Yr6 Pupil

But as the circle inevitably fades and I think back over the tour I am amazed at how the programme continues to grow in response to the children each time I work on it. Of course, it is a sad indictment that we are having these conversations with our children but also heartening in their whole-hearted willingness and ability to grapple with issues of fake news, trust and injustice.  Early on in the tour a Yr6 child observed that our antagonist was confusing “Justice with revenge” this became a key element in the deradicalization of our central character Scarlet near the end.

At the start of Careless Talk, we stamp a circle on the hands of children to enrol them as members of The Circle. An identifiable community group characterised by a clear set of values; Tolerance, Respect, Adherence to the Law, Democracy and Personal Freedom. They live in a diverse modern city and proudly display a circle in the palm of their right hand to demonstrate their commitment to those values. On a day of great significance for the young Circle members underlying tensions and resentment boil over.

The children are drawn towards an extreme organisation operating within their Circle community before being brought up short and realising the way they have been manipulated and how easily they have been led astray. They urge Scarlett, to follow the key principles of the community and reject the extremist rhetoric of violence.

“You will just make it worse, ‘coz they will want to do the same back, it’s’ like an eye for an eye” Yr6 Pupil.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to talk about British Values and the complex and sensitive issues around extremism with teachers and children particularly when Children have the insight to identify that the two extremists that they encounter during the programme, whilst appearing to be on opposing side are actually very similar.

Teachers too have welcomed the chance to begin the conversation with their children too making use of the fictional context to talk about this difficult subject.

“Really supported our PSHE lessons around British Values. Children were more aware of the news and acts of terrorism than I’d expected” Yr6 teacher

“That was exceptional; extremely well handled; I have never seen anything like that before. You got them thinking so well and you got them to articulate really complex ideas” Yr6 Teacher


We hope that as the circle on the palms of our hands fades the standard greeting of the Circle “Together we are Stronger” and the words of The Circle promise remain, fuelling a continuing conversation with the children and their teachers that we have met over the course of the term.


Careless Talk will return in the summer term 2019.
Until then… remember… “Together we are stronger!”


Meet our new Marketing and Sales Assistant, Mathilde.

Just two weeks ago, our newest member of the team, Mathilde (pronounced Ma-til-da), joined us to take on the role of Marketing and Sales Assistant.Mathilde will be working to help us promote what we do, and to help tell the story of the work The Play House is doing in educational settings across the West Midlands.
Mathilde has previously worked in theatre marketing for Black Country Touring, Big Brum Theatre in Education and Central Youth Theatre. Mathilde is also a theatre director, practitioner and actor. She is currently directing two youth theatre shows and works as a freelance practitioner. She has been acting since she was 8 years old and has performed at four international theatre festivals. Mathilde has just graduated as a member of the Youth Steering Committee for Beatfreeks and is very interested in using art as a form of activism – particularly with young people and those in the criminal justice system.
Mathilde is also a professional face painter and travels across the country painting glittery rainbows, unicorns and butterflies on peoples faces.

She’s just getting her feet on the ground but you’ll certainly be hearing from her soon.

You can follow her on twitter: @MathildeMaePetford


We are recruiting…

Are you a self starter who loves a challenge?
Do you have experience in marketing?
Would you like to enable more young people to access the arts?

Then we have the job for you.

We are looking for a Marketing and Sales Assistant to join the team at The Play House

Email Rebecca for details on how to apply –

Deadlines for applications are on the 07th September 2018.

Malcolm J

Autumn term

The conversation in our office is never dull and is constantly shifting freely over a wide range of topics. This is no less true as the term winds up, if anything it intensifies as we get busy preparing our touring programmes for the Autumn term.

The creative team for “Lest We Forget”, our KS2 programme that commemorates the centenary of the Armistice, arrive next week to work with Juliet on the research and development. While Malcolm is revisiting and updating “Careless Talk” our KS2 programme that discusses British Values.

So far this morning we have discussed poetry and letters from the First World War and the contribution of soldiers from the commonwealth and how the contemporary media shapes our attitudes and opinions.

All this and it is not even 12.00 yet, cup of tea anyone?

Juliet F

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