College students to shoutout for the arts

27th May 2022

Performing & Production Arts students from Stratford-upon-Avon College recently took part in a workshop session led by The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and Motionhouse.

Students in their first year of the Dance and Acting courses took part in a session to learn about how the two companies work, and to learn about a new scheme running to engage local young people in local arts provision.

group exercise

Motionhouse is a performance company which fuses dance and circus and has been running in Leamington Spa since 1988. The session started with Motionhouse’s Creative Learning Manager and former student Hannah Lockyer taking the students through a warmup and discussion about the company’s background.

This was followed by a talk from Sophie Hobson who is part of the Learning and National Partnership team at the RSC. She provided insight into what the RSC is and does locally, nationally and internationally and then led the students through a text-based exercise; using the Romeo & Juliet prologue to explore language and performance. This was followed by a physical session with Hannah exploring contact performance.

The students enjoyed both the text based and physical exercises and learnt a lot about how both companies worked and rehearsed

Sophie describes why both companies wanted the students to take part in these exercises and talks: “We know from research that the arts are important to young people; providing a vital creative outlet and helping them to see themselves and the world around them in new and innovative ways. We want the students to develop their interest in theatre and performance and to engage with arts groups and organisations like ours to do this. It’s also important that young people develop a sense of their own agency and are actively engaged in shaping and decision-making around the sorts of arts experiences and creative opportunities on offer to them locally.”

Sophie then went on to introduce the students to the new local initiative: Shoutout for the Arts Warwickshire. This is a new partnership between the RSC, Motionhouse, Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park, Heritage & Culture Warwickshire and Arts Connect that aims to give young people of Warwickshire a voice to ‘shout’ for access to arts and culture.

The students discussed what they considered was important to them in terms of Arts culture and its accessibility

The students answered questions as a group about what is important to them about the Arts, what needs to happen for more young people to access the Arts in Warwickshire and what does Art mean to them.

Sophie added: “That is why we want it to be youth led; to use their passion to have the impact that is needed. It’s not just about offering arts either but making them affordable and accessible.”

The students really found the sessions engaging and enlightening. Jenson Greenwood found the practical parts interesting: “It was great as an actor to do more movement work and experience a different art form.” Myron Byfield was interested to learn about the new youth led initiative: “It was very informative and I am very excited about Shoutout for the Arts and am interested to get involved.”

Kerry Downing and Claire Morley, Performing Arts lecturers, highlighted how useful this session was for the students. Kerry commented: “It was useful for the students to learn how the RSC are constantly asking audiences what they want and reinventing themselves.” Claire added: “It is so important that the students have an awareness of local companies in the area and also to challenge their views on Arts culture in general.”


Shout Out for the Arts – Warwickshire is the first youth led Cultural Education Partnership (CEP) in the country. There are CEP’s all over the country, set up to support children and young people to fulfil their creative potential and access high-quality cultural experiences where they live, where they go to school, and where they spend their free time. Partners come together from across sectors, responding to local needs and interests, to drive a more joined-up cultural education offer, share resources, and improve the visibility of cultural education in their local area. Shout Out for the Arts – Warwickshire’s development is managed by the RSC working in collaboration with other organisations and schools (other organisations are Warwickshire County Council, Motionhouse, and Compton Verney).

Arts Connect West Midlands and Warwickshire CC have recently gained £100,000 partnership investment monies from Barnardo’s for the work of the CEP. Shout out for Arts, Warwickshire will define how this investment is spent, with funding running from April 2022 – March 2023, with activity planned over these 12 months. The aim of the funding is to give the children and young people of Warwickshire a voice to ‘shout’ for access to arts and culture.

Find out more about the College’s Performing & Production Arts courses: SUAC Onstage