Delight programmes in action

It is so rewarding to see the impact of the work we do in person, and an important reminder of why we do what we do.

By Ella Breen

Boy sharing his Delight in Watts journal for positive feedback

Now that restrictions have eased, over the Spring term the Delight team have had more opportunities to see our programmes in person. I had the chance to observe one of our in-school Rainforest Retreat art sessions, Delight in Watts exhibitions and a Delight in Shakespeare in-school rehearsal and children’s performance.

“Observations are so key for all of the team; it keeps us connected to the work.”

Jess (Delight Head of Programmes & People)

Delight in Shakespeare rehearsals and performances

I was lucky enough to see both a rehearsal lesson lead by a Guildford Shakespeare Company actor and the final performance by children from St Mary’s Primary School. It was so amazing to see how far the children had come from the initial rehearsal a few weeks beforehand to the finished production, and especially great to see the massive audience turn-out of friends and family. I could feel it had been a while since having a performance with external visitors. The children, teachers, and parents were all very excited!

Narrators on stage at their final performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Manorfield Primary School

“I thought the whole thing was amazing, it was the first time I’d seen any of our programmes in action and I loved every minute of it. The children were so engaged throughout, and the actors looked like they were having a great time. I was really impressed with the teacher participation as well.”

Jo (Delight Finance & Office Manager)

Rainforest Retreat in-class session

For our newer programmes, it is useful for us to see the classroom in action to help with the material development of the programme and other projects.

I went along to Riverview CofE Primary School to observe a Rainforest Retreat lesson lead by Hannah, our Paintbox arts partner. The aim for this lesson was to create a diorama (3D miniature scene) looking at rainforest animals, foliage and treescapes. Although some of the children were very energetic and struggled to sit through the initial teaching, this enthusiasm later turned into a classroom full of artists and amazing work.

Rainforest Retreat wooden bird mobile display

“However, many months in the planning, a programme can only fully be realised once it is in action in the classroom where the realities of children’s stamina, motor skills and time constraints can be surprising. There were lots of learnings, but this is an area that I feel Delight is good at, feeding these learnings into the next programme evolution. My favourite part of my observation was how kind and supportive the children were in helping their classmates that were struggling to finish.”

Jess (Delight Head of Programmes & People)

Delight in Watts exhibitions

In the last term we have seen two amazing Delight in Watts exhibitions at Watts Gallery – Artist’s Village. For some of the children’s families this was their first experience of a gallery, and both exhibitions were great, positive celebratory experiences for the schools and visitors.

The initial exhibition was by St John’s Primary School children whose project explored the question ‘What do I want to be when I grow up?’. It was interesting to hear the children’s wide range of aspirations, from chocolate taster to astronaut to footballers and dancers!

The more recent exhibition by pupils at Darley Dene Primary School showcased their magical hybrid animals and mythical creatures. It was great to see the children’s vivid imaginations expressed through their art and to listen to the children’s stories about their animals.

Families gather round at the portrait exhibition by St John’s pupils

“This was my first Delight in Watts exhibition, and it definitely surpassed my expectations as I had only seen images of previous exhibitions beforehand. It was so nice to see the children feeling good about themselves and talking so well about their work.”

Maureen (Delight Fundraising Assistant)

I am looking forward to seeing more of the programmes in action during the summer term, we have Delight in Dance performances and more Delight in Watts exhibitions to look forward to. Stay tuned via our social media for frequent news and updates!

Want to support Delight Charity? Find out how, here.

Filming Delight in Dance with Made by Katie Green

Katie Green practising her monologue.

Before Delight delivers its programmes in schools, a massive amount of resource preparation needs to be done. Instructional videos are just one of these resources and are key to supporting teachers and making the learning accessible. I went along to document professional dance company, Made by Katie Green, as they filmed the Delight in Dance videos with filmmaker Rosie Powell. By Ella Breen.

Coming from a fine art background it was interesting for me to see how a commercial film is produced, as opposed to in a fine art context.

I’m a passionate photographer and it was a fun challenge to try to capture the dancer’s movement as I am more used to still subjects. I think I took some great action shots that convey the fun atmosphere, which I am sure will also come through in the videos.

Watching Katie Green direct the choreography and the dancers was especially amusing. I captured some great shots of the dancers having fun and getting stuck into their hero vs villain roles – it was easy to see why the kids love the dance programme so much.

“Today has been really fun having a lovely group of dancers and working with the brilliant Rosie.”


Katie Green (Director of Made by Katie Green).

The dancers dressed up in costumes so that the children will be able to easily identify the heroes (blue capes) and villains (black capes). A white background was used to make the dancers pop and coloured floor dots marked the edge of the dance stage.

Between takes, I got a chance to speak to the choreographer, Katie Green, and the dancers, who clearly enjoyed the day too.

Katie (Artistic Director, Made by Katie Green): “Today has been really fun having a lovely group of dancers and working with the brilliant Rosie to put together the films for our upcoming project.”

Chloe (Dancer, Made by Katie Green): “I’ve been doing the project now for a year and I’ve really, really enjoyed working with the children… I’m excited to get back into the classroom.”

Later that day, myself and fellow Kickstarter Tasmin had the opportunity to join the Delight in Dance CPD (Continued Professional Development) session for teachers, which involved taking part in some of the dance exercises I had watched being filmed.

Seeing how the film translates into the programme delivery was a great way to round off my knowledge of the Dance project. A great day was had by all.


Find out more about Delight in Dance, Made by Katie Green and the Yvonne Arnaud theatre space we filmed at.


Shréya raises £4000 for charity

Delight CEO Kathryn Mills receiving Shréya’s donation.

Delight’s newest fundraiser swims to success. By Ella Breen.

Over the summer, 10-year-old Shréya raised more than £4000 for Delight and Msalura Primary School in Malawi by swimming 1km every day for 34 days in Caterham’s De Stafford pool. She was inspired to take on the challenge after David Walliams, one of her favourite authors, swam 34km across the English Channel in one of the top 50 fastest times.

Shréya says: “Seeing all the donations for good causes really moved me and made me want to do it myself. I used to really struggle with confidence and being shy both in and outside of the classroom… That was before I developed a passion for arts and drama, which helped me develop my self-esteem and grow my confidence. I want to give other children the same opportunity. Every penny we raise is going to help hundreds of children.”

“Every penny we raise is going to help hundreds of children.”

Shréya

The money raised for Delight will go towards helping more children in Surrey gain access to arts-based learning through the Delight in Shakespeare programme, which aims to build drama skills and confidence in children and develop teachers’ drama practice in the classroom.

Shréya at the pool.

The other half of the money raised will go to Msalura primary school in Malawi which is partnered with Shréya’s primary school and offers a programme aimed at getting girls into education.

‘Thanks to a generous donation from Essendene Lodge School we have been able to offer further help with providing PPE, as schools re-opened on 22nd February, and also provide some food aid of maize and beans to the most needy children which we hope will tide their families over until the harvest later this month. I am happy to confirm that we will sponsor eight new 14-year-old girls to begin secondary education, bringing the total to 20. The overall cost of paying fees, an annual allowance for books and equipment and final year exam fees comes to around £1,500 a year and we have been able to sustain this commitment thanks to regular donations from our generous supporters.’ (Source)

What an amazing achievement, Shréya! Delight is very grateful for your incredible fundraising efforts.


Find out more about Shréya’s fundraising challenge on her JustGiving page.

Want to support Delight Charity? Find out how, here.