The History Troupe has performed in Pubs, Libraries, Churches, Railway Stations, Theatres and now Schools. This new venture sees the ensemble working with students in one off workshops or, as mentors leading to a performance.
1. The First World War. Rob Bell has written a collection of poems, Sharp Street and several plays on this theme. The workshop adapts this material to the curriculum and location of the school itself encouraging students to identify with this long ago war as a living history.
Here’s the play that was part of a workshop with Beverley Grammar School described by Head of History Phil Jackson as “awesome”. Heroes – written by Rob Bell; Directed by Cass Patton.
Note on Heroes. Hull FC won the Challenge Cup just before the war and then the Championship in the 1920s. The drama takes place in a working men’s club in Hull after both victories. Two supporters Jimmy and Harold mix with their heroes Billy Batten, the first Rugby League superstar and Jack Harrison the scorer of 52 tries in the season before the war and killed in action at Oppy Wood – he was the first sportsman to win a VC. Jimmy is a conchie (conscientious objector) and Harold a volunteer with the Hull Pals in the war. After the play, the students discuss the meaning of heroism with the cast and vote for their own. See the play and vote yourself!
Other plays (always 30 minutes in length) available include : Oppy Wood, about the impact back home of the conflict; the Strange Death of Corsetry, all about the changing role of women before and after the war; Panama, an assessment of the reasons for the war starting; Remembering Zeppelins, all about the impact of Zeppelin Raids on Hull; Statues Cradling Toys, a series of stories and poems about the war; Truths, readings from poems and short stories from all over the world.
2. World of Work. They say that 50 per cent of the jobs of the future have yet to be invented and many jobs and skills of the past have been lost. This workshop explores a range of jobs and crafts. For example, Cargoes is a collection of stories, poems and images featuring the docks, the commodities and the migrants moving through ports.
3. The Other. Historian Braudel talked of horse and camel men who represented speed and surprise at a time when everything moved slowly. This was the first story of migrants and the settled people. Rob Bell has been researching the movement of peoples in search of freedom and opportunity from 1830 to 1914 from Europe to places across the globe. Reaching for the Land of Green Ginger a performance of stories and poems is based on a number of migrants stranded on a quayside in Hull during the 1912 coal strike.
4. Africa. Working with David Murden of the And Albert Foundation THT has developed a workshop based on films and artefacts from all over this hugely important continent. In particular, we focus Ghana and the communities around the Volta River.
5. Tailor made. THT is open to develop tailor made material for specific topics. Simply outline the requirements and THT will structure the workshop as needed.
The workshop. A typical workshop lasts two hours and is structured as follows:
- Introduction and context. The theme will be explored and then, the play or film introduced.
- The play or film.
- Discussion. The cast will work with the students to draw out themes and issues.
- Readings. Drawn from published and tailor made sources,the THT troupe will work with students on the meaning and significance of the texts.
Note: The photograph was taken of a barge tied up on the River Hull. Thank you Andrew Knight!!!
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