The performing arts have been brought to life for primary pupils at Starbank School thanks to lessons and a special after-school club delivered by the Hippodrome Education Network (HEN). For the last three years, the HEN project – Birmingham Hippodrome’s schools network – has enabled pupils to benefit from a host of exciting music, drama and arts activities.

Year 6 pupils recently explored the Second World War from a child’s perspective, learning about children’s experiences of The Blitz, air raid shelters and evacuation. The pupils then performed in a play that incorporated these themes.

Cheryl Mok from HEN, who directed the play, said:

“The children worked hard in rehearsals for the performance and showed real empathy and enthusiasm throughout the sessions.”

As part of the school’s Black History Month activities, Year 6 pupils visited the Birmingham Hippodrome to see the debut performance of Marcus. The play is based on the life of Marcus Garvey (pictured right), a Jamaican civil rights activist who dedicated his life fighting for equality and justice for Black people in America and across the world. Set in modern times, the play follows the experiences of Jermaine, a young descendant of Garvey, who was guided by his ancestors’ morals and legacy.

Shabir Ahmad Assistant Principal at Starbank School added:

“This was a brilliant opportunity for the children, as it allowed them to celebrate a notable figure in Black History as well as to recognise his values of determination, perseverance, ambition and respect.”

In partnership with HEN, a group of Year 2 pupils also enjoyed a trip to the Hippodrome where they saw a performance of What the Ladybird Heard, based on the award-winning children’s book written by Gruffalo author Julia Donaldson. For many pupils, it was their first visit to a theatre and they were on the edges of their seats as they marvelled at the bright costumes, singing and dancing.