OVERVIEW

In 2019/20 our Learning department had a total of 34,762 engagements (9,584 adults and 25,178 young people). This has been a busy year with a number of key highlights and achievements.
 

PROJECT A

The volume of applications for Project A 20/21 amounted to 372, with 15 young people being awarded a place on the full time course. Our 2019 graduates have seen three students awarded places at Drama Schools and the remaining 15 gaining an agent and /or going straight into professional employment - our most successful year to date. 

Our exchange and share of practise with Skara Scolsken (Sweden) continued with more regular virtual exchange. A cohort of 15 Swedish students and four staff members visited us in April 2019 and undertook four days of joint study and work together with our Project A students. Unfortunately, their subsequent visit to Newcastle was postponed in February 2020 owing to high winds closing UK airports. 

Project A 2019 class performed their final major production over five nights at the beginning of July 2019, following three performances in their first term, which were attended by a total of 611 audience members in the studio theatre. 
 

CHILDREN'S THEATRE PARTNERSHIP

We successfully bid to work on a three year resilience project with theatres The Blackpool Grand, The Marlowe and Norwich Theatre Royal. The project began in January 2020, with work delivered across our region (and those regions of our respective theatre partners) using the stimulus of the CTP production of Holes. Following the completion of a Story Led Resilience course delivered by Brighton University, we delivered 91 workshops to schools in Newcastle, Gateshead, Durham, Darlington and Hartlepool and undertook a more intensive eight week project with Ponteland Middle School. We delivered a Holes themed weekly workshop term across all of our young people’s classes and took 52 young people from our 8-11s class to watch the production. 
 

WEEKLY WORKSHOPS

We continued to deliver a successful weekly workshop programme, increasing our adult classes and extending into an adult, daytime, script reading provision. There should have been 250 workshops delivered as part of the weekly programme, with 470 individuals attending  on a weekly, three term basis. However, owing to government advice to shut the theatre and cease activity, we could not deliver the final 26 sessions of the January – March term. There had been 11 show back performances across the classes for young people until that point, with 494 audience members. Our Young People instead finished their term by helping to create a short reflective film based upon the resilience theme they had been working on.
 

TWISTING DUCKS

Twisting Ducks Theatre Company continued their residency with us, with a provision for twice-weekly workshop sessions for learning-disabled performers. The classes have grown and developed with a number of new regular members and Twisting Ducks secured funding to provide bursary places to other new members. The group also devised and delivered two daytime performances to an invited audience totalling 85.


 

SUMMER SCHOOL

We had another successful Summer School this year. A total of 212 young people attended for a week over the six week school holiday and 360 audience members attended sharing of work over the period. We also had a group visit to watch Les Misérables and our Musical Theatre group created their own, scaled, performance of the production. 

 

TOURS

We delivered tours to 104 people who attended our public tour programme, 40 people who attended as part of our Heritage Open Day and 287 people who attended with a private group.

 

RELAXED PERFORMANCES

This year, 757 people attended the relaxed performance of Beauty and the Beast. Owing to the adaptations made within the auditorium to accommodate our access patrons, we were at full capacity. We have a robust and successful system of delivering our relaxed programme, which the Learning team develop with our Visitor Services team.

 

NEWCASTLE COLLEGE

We have begun to work once more with Newcastle College, delivering a social skills and confidence class to 20 young learners with additional needs. The classes are delivered weekly during term time and form a core part of the young people’s study and learning. 
 

OPERA NORTH

We continue to work with the Children’s Chorus having completed three more successful terms this year and also worked on piloting a class for elderly people.