PK Porthcurno, Museum of Global Communications has won the ‘Collaboration Award’ at the Cornwall Heritage Awards 2023 for their Cornish Caretakers Schools Tour in partnership with Edward Rowe ‘A Message to PK Porthcurno’, which has now reached over 10,000 children.
The Cornwall Heritage Awards hosted by Cornwall Museum Partnership brings together the very best projects, collaborations, initiatives and teams from heritage organisations all over Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.
This collaboration started as a response from PK Porthcurno to increasing costs faced by families and schools and the difficulties they often face visiting museums, so instead their engagement programme was taken to them in a new and innovative way. PK Porthcurno commissioned actor Edward Rowe (Kernow King) to devise a new Cornish Caretakers production called ‘A Message to PK Porthcurno’, taking the museum’s unique story of global communications to children across Cornwall in a playful and engaging way, inspiring them to come and visit the museum themselves.
‘A Message to PK Porthcurno’, written by and starring Edward Rowe with actor Emily Harrison and directed by the award-winning director Simon Harvey has now done two tours of primary schools across Cornwall free of charge, visiting 61 schools and engaging with over 10,000 children. Edward and Emily are skilled performers with experience of working with children in an educational setting. The show was highly engaging and participative, using fun and playful techniques to tell PK Porthcurno’s story in a new way. It took the children on a fascinating journey to learn about methods of communication over time (from smoke signals to TikTok!), decode hidden messages, help to fix a broken cable at Porthcurno and even sing a song. The workshops were deliberately framed to be as playful and engaging as possible to inspire follow-up visits to the museum for the children and their families who received free tickets to PK Porthcurno where they were greeted as special guests.
Edward Rowe, who stars as Mr Rodda Rowe Rescorla in the show says,
“To be able to tell a story about Porthcurno and Cornwall’s importance in the world of communications in primary schools has been an enormous joy for me and my team. To see children laugh and learn about where they live, the significance of where they live and how their history and heritage can inspire them has been nothing short of magical. This could only have been achieved with our collaboration with PK Porthcurno.”
‘A Message to PK Porthcurno’ was made possible through funding from Cornwall Council as part of their Culture and Creative Investment Programme and has been one of PK’s most successful projects from their already award-winning engagement team. Through Edward’s extensive contacts, the collaboration enabled them to reach new schools, many of whom they had never worked with before and reach many new children and families. Edward and Emily’s storytelling made the subject of communications relevant, exciting and relatable to children by including elements such as a TikTok dance, popular music, and smoke signals! Both are highly captivating performers and made the schools (and teachers) laugh out loud in unison, bringing happiness to all. Feedback from the schools was extremely positive with one teacher commenting “Superb, could be a blueprint for how to do primary school visit!”
Mark Trevethan, Principal Culture Lead at Cornwall Council says,
“The results of this project are really impressive, with thousands of children now aware of the Porthcurno story and many of them taking their families to visit the museum for the first time. Pairing PK Porthcurno’s unique collection with Edward Rowe’s knack for story-telling is a great example of playing to strengths to have even more impact.”