East Manchester pupils reenact First World War in arts initiative

Pupils at Gorton Mount Primary Academy, part of the Bright Futures Educational Trust, have collaborated with the Manchester Arts Education Initiative to produce a drama performance based on World War I.

Manchester Arts Education Initiative was established by Manchester City Council in 1993 and creates arts projects for schools and other educational institutions.

This year’s project was an exploration of some aspects of the First World War, including propaganda, the experience of young men in the trenches, ‘shell-shock’ and the treatment of the mentally wounded in England.

Gorton Mount pupils performed the play using dance, acting and artwork to demonstrate their knowledge of the historical event, working with professional actors and artists both in school and within the community. Following a number of rehearsals, the children performed their finished play in front of an audience at Victoria Baths in Chorlton-on-Medlock.

Carol Powell, Gorton Mount Principal said: “This was a fantastic opportunity for our pupils to develop their confidence in the arts – something that also lends itself to other areas of the curriculum. The pupils gave a very moving and memorable performance and we’re extremely proud of the efforts they have put in over the past few months.

“The project was also an ideal way to highlight the government-funded World War I centenary programme for schools which is due to start next year.”

Various pieces of the pupils’ artwork will also be displayed in the Baths, enabling audience members to view sculptures, sketchbooks and wall hangings made by the children.