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National Theatre of Scotland teaches school children to fly

National Theatre of Scotland has collaborated with MCR Pathways, a national, award-winning mentoring programme for young people, to bring interactive performance project Like Flying to Bellahouston Academy in Glasgow and Ardrossan Academy in North Ayrshire.

Directed by Scottish artist Nic Green, Like Flying is an immersive production which highlights the importance of arts for young people’s mental health. It has been designed as a transformative project to enable young people to reach their potential, increase their wellbeing and build resilience. The project invites a cast of 13- to 14-year-olds to learn to fly through aerial performance methods. 

Originally conceived and produced in two Scottish schools in 2019, the project has increasing relevance to young people today who have been faced with exceptional challenges to their mental wellbeing during the last two years of the pandemic.

Like Flying will be in four local authority areas over the coming year with over 120 young people taking part. The National Theatre of Scotland is working in partnership with MCR Pathways on an ongoing basis, on joint initiatives that will enable young people to reach their potential.

Young people involved in the project said: “When you’re here you can forget all the other stuff going on at home or in school, 

“To be honest, it was just like me, the real me, waiting to get out of its cage.” 

Each school has a three-week residency where pupils are trained in aerial performance methods leading up to the public performances including, hoop, aerial cocoon and harness work. The young people will present a series of encounters using these forms, as audiences make their way through the school corridors after hours.

 As part of each residency, there will also be opportunities for students who are not performing to learn skills in design, sound and event management through assisting the creative team. 

Mr Mochan, Headteacher of Bellahouston Academy, said: “We are thrilled to be taking part in Like Flying with the National Theatre of Scotland. It is such an exciting and rewarding opportunity for young people to learn from talented theatre professionals,

“This unique experience promises to offer them a chance to develop new skills and self-confidence, which they can take forward with them, throughout their school lives and beyond. We are very much looking forward to the final performances, and seeing what they have learnt.” 

Like Flying is supported by The Rayne Foundation, The William Grant Foundation, Binks Trust, The McGlashan Charitable Trust, The Ettrick Charitable Trust, The Murdoch Forrest Charitable Trust, The WM Mann Foundation, Educational Institute of Scotland and Savendie. 

Performances at Bellahouston Academy, Glasgow took place on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 September 2022 and Ardrossan Academy, North Ayrshire will be on Friday 7 and Saturday 8 October 2022.

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