Playmakers is a new project from the National Theatre available to all state primary schools across the UK. It uniquely connects learning across the curriculum with an end-of-year school production of Emil and the Detectives.
Starting after February half-term, participating classes will read the book Emil and the Detectives by Eric Kastner and receive a scheme of work with creative activities, and questions relating to each chapter.
Teachers will then be able to select from a wide range of cross-curricular lesson plans to deliver with their class which fully explore the story, the setting and the characters. Areas of the curriculum include literacy, history, geography, P.E. and art and design.
During the second half of the summer term pupils will draw on this learning as they start rehearsals for their school production of Emil and the Detectives. Schools will be provided with training, a director’s guide, a specially adapted script by Carl Miller (with original songs), backing tracks and the relevant performance licence as part of the package. The production will take place at the end of the summer term.
In March a two-day Theatre Making course for Teachers will be held at the NT providing a thorough introduction to making theatre with primary aged children and covering many aspects of approaching the task of directing a production.
The project is designed for year 5 or 6 and it is possible to book for multiple classes.
Emil and the Detectives is a classic adventure story about a boy learning to rely on himself and on his new friends. Emil leaves his small town in Germany and sets off on a journey that will change his life. When his money is stolen on the train by a mysterious stranger, Emil thinks he has lost everything. As he starts tracking down the thief, he soon discovers that he’s not alone in the big city after all.
In 2013, the NT produced Emil and the Detectives. The production involved over 150 children from local schools. The children worked with the NT for a year, gaining an insight into theatre-making. It was the profound effect that participation in the NT production had on the children involved that inspired Playmakers.
The Playmakers project costs £350 and is available to all state primary schools.
To book, teachers should contact Jo Carey, Primary and Early Years Coordinator at the National Theatre on 020 7452 3308 / firstname.lastname@example.org