Supporting the younger generation

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000


Who’s Afraid of the Dark? will support speaking, writing and reading skills for 60 children in Finsbury Park through a drama and story-making project, working with a professional theatre company and author, and inspired by exploring Queen’s Wood, a local green space. The project aims to improve pupils' curiosity and engagement with literature and reading through a creative project incorporating drama, aerial dance and writing in order to give children who are reluctant readers another way to explore literature with active, physical tasks.

Over twelve weeks, 60 children in Year 5 at Grafton Primary School will collaboratively create a promenade performance combining their own creative writing and skills learned with Scarabeus, to be performed in Queens Wood. Days will be structured around a morning of energy and activity working with drama and role play, aerial skills and outdoor exploration in Queens Wood, followed by afternoon sessions in which children write short stories using their new ideas and vocabulary, and their own experience and perception of the woods.

We will work with children’s author and dramatist Nicky Singer, who will lead a series of workshops taking place partly in the woods and partly in school, to bring out the children’s own stories through tasks incorporating creative writing, speaking and listening; the focus will be on using and developing the children’s own language. Nicky will encourage the children to contribute their own ideas about the woods, based on a wide range of cultural traditions and on the children’s own experiences.

Outdoor sessions led by the project team will be held in Queens Wood, located near to the school. In the woods, participants will have the opportunity to climb specially-rigged giant spiderweb structures, build objects using natural materials, discover wild beauty and build their own imaginary worlds among the trees.

Aerial workshops will be led by Daniela and an assistant tutor at Caxton House in Archway, focusing on low-flying harness work and silk cocoons. The children will also take part in trust games and activities, learning to support and partner one another, and begin devising their own movement phrases connected to the theme: exploring woodland and discovering different places and characters in the woods.

Over the twelve weeks of the project, the movement material and story ideas devised by the children will be structured by Nicky and Daniela into a 45-minute promenade performance combining aerial and visual theatre.

The project will develop the children’s physical, creative, communication and teamworking skills, working in pairs and small groups to collaboratively create the movement material and script for the final performance. The children will develop confidence and self-esteem through opportunities to create and perform their own work, and explore literacy in a cross-arts, cross-curriculum project leading to long-term benefits from improved literacy and engagement with literature.

Learning good literacy skills at school is the key to achievement and attainment in later life. The impact of not being able to read at the end of primary school is very severe. Low reading skills in children can mean social, economic and cultural exclusion as adults.

In addition, the children will benefit from working outdoors in a natural setting. 75% of children in Islington do not have access to a garden or outside space, and children often lead sedentary lifestyles, watching TV or playing computer games rather than socialising and playing outdoors. Who’s Afraid of the Dark? will provide children with valuable opportunities to explore local woodland physically and creatively, working outdoors and devising stories to suit the setting.

We have already raised 75% of the funding required to pay project staff and purchase equipment, and now need a final £3000 - please help us to make this exciting and necessary project happen!

Project Video

Scarabeus Aerial Theatre

Moment of Pride

Scarabeus runs an extensive programme of performances, workshops and residencies for children, young people, and families. The company, has an excellent track record of high quality work which significantly improves the health and wellbeing of families, children and young people in Islington.

Location: London