PK Porthcurno and The Minack Theatre recently joined forces for The Wild Escape, a major new project uniting hundreds of museums and schools in a celebration of UK wildlife and creativity, between January and July 2023. Led by Art Fund this was a wonderful opportunity for the next generation to explore the big subjects of biodiversity and the environment, in a fun and educational way.
This project partnership explored the wildlife and natural history of Porthcurno Valley, through school and museum-based workshops and concluded on World Earth Day with a ‘Play in a Day’ at the world-famous clifftop theatre. Earth Day is an annual event on the 22nd of April to help to demonstrate support for environmental protection.
Engaging with local schools:
We engaged with 84 children from four local schools; Newlyn, Sennen Primary, St Buryan Academy Primary, and St Levan School.
The project kicked off with our Learning Facilitators, Mae and Paul, collaborating to deliver a creative, environmental-based workshop with each school at PK Porthcurno.
Creating Kennings Poems and Wildlife orbs:
Mae writes: “The school groups were all a joy to work with! We wrote kenning poems about trees and the sea, and we found new ways to describe these. The children came up with lots of beautiful and imaginative lines. A short extract from each poem:
Don’t call me Sea. Call me… | Shore-washer | Footprint-swallower | Cable-mapper
Don’t call me Tree. Call me… | Skyscraper | Habitat-maker | Wind-waver
They experimented with mark-making to create abstract artworks with colour palettes inspired by trees or the sea. Then, with lots of patience, they turned their artwork into origami orbs which incorporated their poems with the beautiful textures they had all made”
Next, the children took part in exciting performance-based workshops to develop a short play inspired by their poems, Connie Crosby and John Brolly led these from the Minack.
Our Schools Festival Day:
To celebrate the project we held a festival at PK Porthcurno on Friday 21 April. We worked with the Minack team to deliver a range of fun and active games, both indoors and outside in our gardens, for the 4 schools. Games included; a pollen hunt in our bunkers, creating their own creatures and birds, and exploring bat echolocation using tin can phones. In the afternoon the children rehearsed their short plays based on their kenning poems and then performed these joyous short plays to the other school groups in turn.
Feedback comments from children about what they enjoyed about taking part: “All of it!”, “learning about bats!”, “Being outside.”
Teacher comment about what they learnt included: “Nature is very important to our lives and we need it to survive.”
We were fortunate that it was a wonderful sunny day, and the children all enjoyed participating in a fun-packed day at PK!
Play in a Day:
Inspired by the Porthcurno Valley and wildlife, local children had the opportunity to conclude this project by spending a day taking part in acting, dancing, singing, music and prop-making workshops, before performing to their parents their unique Play in a Day on World Earth Day, at 5 pm on Saturday 22nd April. The play consisted of 5 short international tales including ‘Why the Sky is Far Away’ and ‘The Magic Garden,’ and was introduced by Electra, mother of Iris, a messenger for the gods, represented by a lightning bolt symbol.
Flo writes: “The local children had a jam-packed day! We kept them busy with all the different stations including making parts of their costumes like the bird masks below. They all came into their own in the smaller group scenes and it was wonderful to see them blossom and grow in confidence as the day progressed. Despite being nervous about the show, they gave a fantastic performance which was a hit with parents and friends.”
Images credit: Minack
We thoroughly enjoyed working with all the children. It was a great experience to be able to work in partnership with Kim, John, Connie, Flo and Roisin from the Minack, and finally, we would like to say a big thank you to all the schools and children for taking part!
Go to The Wild Escape Website to find our creature, created by one of the students!
Use the code: Free – Hats – Go