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Big Brum on the crisis in schools touring

Our colleagues at the ITC recently wrote a blog about a crisis in schools touring experienced by many small arts organisations. Big Brum responded, and were very kindly asked to submit a full comment piece.

Read the piece on the ITC's website here: http://www.itc-arts.org/blog/big-brum-responds-to-our-recent-blog-on-the-crisis-in-theatre-in-education

Posted 17/07/15

Chris Cooper on Barefaced

Chris Cooper on Barefaced

Watch a sort video extract as Chris Cooper, writer of Big Brum's new play Barefaced, talks about the production.

View the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wsb2KusqH34

Please click here for details of our programme Barefaced

Posted 17/07/15

Big Brum announces - Barefaced

In times of uncertainty, for those living on the 'outside', life can be dangerous when it's hard to know if people are who they say they are and even harder to know who to trust. There's always someone buying or selling something. The City is a jigsaw puzzle but some of the pieces are missing...

Touring this Autumn, Barefaced is about exploitation and the remarkable courage of young people that society has abandoned. The play is part of a two hour Theatre in Education programme that brings world-class theatre into your school, with accompanying workshops facilitated by highly skilled professional actor-teachers. It supports KS4 and KS5 Drama, English, Citizenship, RE and PSHE. Designed to challenge, develop thinking skills, imaginative thinking, and individual and collaborative work, the programme provides expert support which offers your pupils responsibility for their own learning.

Please click here for full details

Posted 29/06/15

Lie of the Land feedback

In May 2015, Big Brum ran a site specific production based on World War One called Lie of the Land. After experiencing the programme, two Year 6 students at Fairway Primary spontaneously responded to their experience by writing a poem. Big Brum often receives very positive feedback regarding the quality and impact of our work; but even by our standards, this feedback is memorable.

Interested? Please click here to read the full poem...

Posted 22/05/15

Sepoy's Salute rehearsals continue.....

'Sepoy's Salute', Big Brum's new production based on World War One, is approaching the end of its rehearsal period. Touring from May to July, this programme continues Big Brum's exploration of World War One, telling the story of a solider from the Indian Corps. First impressions? Here are the words of our recent work experience student Katie Banister:

"My first impressions of Sepoys Salute? It was moving...it was gripping...
The actors were walking through scene 2 where Sepoy is asleep and reacting to the noises in the distance, provoking him to murmur. I like how almost instantly I began to feel disturbed by the noises coming from the forest... You begin to see great potential within the play and the actors from both the rehearsal and discussions. It is no doubt Sepoy is going to be a successful performance!"

To book 'Sepoy's Salute' for your school, please click here for full details.

Posted 28/04/15

Big Brum commemorates 50 years of Theatre in Education with a year of work

Fifty years ago the first theatre in education (TiE) company was established at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry in a ground-breaking partnership between the theatre and the city council.

Despite challenging times for the sector Big Brum remains as committed as ever to our delivery of a wide range of exciting theatre in education work. We have a full schedule of activity planned from now until March 2016, and as ever are committed to touring theatre in education work of the highest quality and most engaging content. As well as our normal schools touring, keep an eye out for extra events under the TIE@50 badge (right).

Please click here for full details of our programme of work from 2015 to 2015, all of which celebrates the 50th anniversary of Theatre in Education.

As a bonus, for those of you interested in the history of Theatre in Education, Arts Professional have recently published an excellent short piece by our friend and colleague Justine Themen at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry:

We hope to see you soon!

Posted 01/04/15

Big Brum announces Sepoy's Salute

'Sepoy's Salute' is a Theatre in Education programme that will bring world-class theatre into your Primary or Secondary school. Using performance and participatory drama workshops Sepoy's Salute will explore duty, servitude, freedom and responsibility through the eyes of an Indian soldier, a peasant labourer turned member of the Indian Corps that crossed the 'Black Water' into the firing line of industrialised warfare.

A clearing in a wood, France, summer 1915.
Another offensive. Gas, a hail of shells, bullets and confusion.
A meeting of an officer and men: men from different continents, from different worlds.
Amongst the shattered trunks and branches rank is suspended, loyalties questioned and the rules of war change...

Please click here for full details

Posted 06/02/15

Big Brum secures Grants for the Arts funding

Big Brum

Big Brum are delighted to announce we have secured Grants for the Arts funding from Arts Council England for a project from April 2015 to March 2016, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Theatre in Education. This will consist of three interconnected Theatre in Education programmes:

We are very happy that, despite recent difficulties for the Company, Big Brum will be able to offer schools in Birmingham, the West Midlands and beyond a full programme of activity for the financial year 2015 to 2016. The programme will feature lots of exciting new developments, including new ways for our supporters to get involved in our work; we'll keep you up to date on these opportunities as they arise.

For now, we are just very happy that we will continue to be able to work with you delivering high quality theatre in education. Keep an eye on our website, Facebook, Twitter etc as more details about our coming programmes emerge!

Posted 14/11/14

Big Brum Flickr Account


Big Brum is proud to announce our new Flickr account, showing photos from all our productions over the last 10 years. Take a look into the history of our practice....

Posted 18/09/14

Messages of Support - Updated 31/07/14

Photo from Home Front - Front Line

As Big Brum moves to our summer break, we are still receiving messages of support from all over the world, including from local MPs Jack Dromey and Richard Burden. (Jack visited Big Brum himself recently: https://twitter.com/JackDromeyMP/status/492607020932296705)

As well as countless sympathetic messages, likes, retweets etc on Big Brum's social media outlets (twitter.com/big_brum and www.facebook.com/pages/Big-Brum-Theatre-in-Education-Company/327795253923734) the Company is still receiving full length letters from artists, educators, and academics. We really appreciate them all - keep sending them in!

For all our supporters, we present a Microsoft Word collection of some of the letters here, updated with many more received up to the end of July.

"This decision threatens England's standing as a leader in youth theatre throughout the world." Alan Dilworth, Director, Canada

"There are no other companies doing what Big Brum does and not just in Birmingham but anywhere in the UK." Janet Davies, Teacher

Posted 31/07/14

Message from Jack Dromey, MP

Big Brum are delighted to have received a very warm message of support from our local MP, Jack Dromey, MP for Erdington and Shadow Minister of State for Policing.

"I would question the reasoning behind balancing arts funding in a manner that has left the city with Europe's youngest population without any Arts Council funded organisations working solely for young people."

You can downland and read the full statement here.

We would like to thank Jack, and everyone else who has been in touch, for the remarkable support we're being given at this time.

Posted 08/07/14

Note from Edward Bond

Response from playwright Edward Bond:
"I'm writing this on learning that the Arts Council have removed their funding support to Big Brum. Of course this has a particular significance for me. Big Brum is my last contact with English professional theatre, if Big Brum were to close I would truly be in exile. But more important to me is the loss of Big Brum to young people. Seeing a professional performance when I was 13 or 14 changed the direction of my life. It made me understand the processes of my life. I was no longer - as most people now are in our culture - a foreigner to myself. I had seen a play by Shakespeare. I am not comparing my work to his - but I am likening Big Brum's work to the work of his Globe. I met myself and my times at his Globe. I was living in war time and in the post war of ruins and austerity. Shakespeare wrote in a time of equal distress but also of victory - and I lived in such a time. The fit was perfect. The capitalist market in all it does and in all its forms, destroys culture. In time we will see that it is at war with young people. Inevitably youngster shut their eyes in shock - what else can they do? - just as I did at the shock of war - but Big Brum's work lets them open their minds in understanding and gives them the power to make victories. I am not exaggerating - this is the power of drama and it has accompanied human beings throughout their history. These cuts are a wound to all young people - and they are an immeasurable debt that society will have to pay."

Posted 02/07/14

Sky News Segment

Within an hour of hearing the bad news, we received a call from Sky wanting to send a team over to interview us about the cut. You can see us as part of a wider segment on Arts Funding here (this opens as an MP4 video):

Posted 02/07/14

Response to Arts Council National Portfolio Decisions for 2015 to 2018

Big Brum are sad to announce today that we have been cut from the Arts Council England's National Portfolio, as of April 2015. This is very difficult news for the company, as it means the core of our funding has been withdrawn, and as an organisation we will therefore be facing a major challenge to our operations from 2015 onwards.

We are profoundly disappointed with the decision. We are surprised that, whilst the Arts Council have apparently prioritised young people in this funding round, they have decided to remove support from an organisation that delivers high quality theatre to, in their own words, "diverse audiences primarily in Birmingham's most deprived communities."

We do think that it is a real shame that the Arts Council have withdrawn funding from several smaller organisations working with those most excluded from the arts. We believe that the Arts Sector will be weakened by this round of funding decisions. In our own case, we know thousands of young people each year benefit from our arts activity, a provision which is now under threat.

At this time we are still assessing the full impact of the cut. We will explore all options that remain open to us and will keep everyone informed regarding our response. In the meantime Big Brum sends its thanks to all our friends and colleagues for their continuing support.

With best wishes
Big Brum

Posted 01/07/14

Pelsall Village School and Big Brum TIE

Courtesy of Arts Connect West Midlands, read about how Year 1 and 2 pupils at Pelsall Village School met a Giant.

Posted 06/06/14

Big Brum's Support to Schools

Big Brum's latest "support to Schools" document has been released, giving full details of the variety of ways in which we can engage with schools, from one off sessions to extended long term partnerships. CLICK HERE FOR FULL DETAILS OF THE TYPE OF WORK WE CAN DO WITH YOUR SCHOOL. (Opens as an Adobe PDF document)

Posted 06/06/14

Big Brum announces The Angry Roads

Big Brum Theatre in Education Company announces the world premiere of a new play by Edward Bond, combining a new Theatre in Education programme with world class theatre and participatory workshops, in production from October 2014 aimed at year 9 upwards.

Evening in the city. In a flat a teenage boy is sorting through play things from his childhood; he is sorting through his past in search of the truth about an accident that destroyed his family. The Father remains silent, is he refusing or unable to speak about it? The son struggles to know the truth and take control of his future.

This production, Bond's 10th new commission for Big Brum, is an extraordinary and compelling drama by one of the world's greatest dramatists. Please click here for full details

Posted 11/04/14

NEW SECTION - Case Studies

Big Brum presents case studies from projects we have been involved in over the years.

Erdington Hall Primary School, 2013 This describes partnership work involving Big Brum working with Year 3 children and staff at a primary school in Erdington, Birmingham in Summer 2013. (Opens in a new Window as a Microsoft Word document)

Abbeywood First School, 2013 - This case study shares some of the extraordinary work carried out by teachers and children across Abbeywood First School, Redditch in response to Big Brum's TIE programme 'The Giant's Embrace'. (Opens in a new Window as a Microsoft Word document)

Posted 04/04/14

Big Brum presents 1914 - Home Front - Front Line

Big Brum Theatre in Education Company is pleased to announce a major new programme of work focused around the centenary of World War One. Using cutting edge participatory theatre and drama, this ambitious five year project will explore aspects of the conflict from the centenary of its outbreak to the armistice.

Part One of the project is called Home Front - Front Line and in 2014 this new Theatre in Education programme will take a touring play into primary schools from June to July followed by an Autumn and Winter tour into secondary schools in September and October.

Please click here for full details

Posted 21/01/14

The Giant's Embrace, now taking bookings

Big Brum is pleased to announce that once again it is taking bookings for it's highly regarded theatre in education programme for Key Stages 1 and 2; The Giant's Embrace. The programme is touring from February to July 2014; please click here for full details.

Posted 21/01/14

Please consider supporting Big Brum's delivery of high quality art to young people.

Supported by Arts Council England