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On each production we involve children in the creative development of our plays. They collaborate with artists and facilitators on creative enquiries which influence and shape our artistic programme.

Pupils from two local partner primary schools informed the development of I Wish, exploring the concept of making wishes with Year 2 pupils.

Across weekly workshops the pupils explored:

What do we wish for and why?

What makes wishes meaningful and how do our hopes and wishes impact the people around us?

We also explored the power of collective wishes and how we can turn our wishes into meaningful action!

Their wishes came in all sorts of sizes. Some wishes were about the school toilets or having more places to recycle, and some wishes were about wanting London city to have flying trains! (When asked how they would go about making this happen, of course the answer is we would ask a wizard for them!)

In the first project the class created ‘wish machines’ imagining creative and funny ways for wishes to be made and granted, all of their research was shared in the rehearsal room and the ‘wish machine’ activity was replicated with with the creative team as they developed the show. In the later project, we focussed on collective wishes and the creation of a resource for schools co-designed with pupils.

This class focussed on the power to grant wishes and the potential of a collective ‘We Wish…’. They went through a selection process to find a shared wish for their class, ‘to have some art activities in class every day’ and began to turn this fantasy wish into activism. They wrote speeches to persuade the staff, expressing how it will boost their creativity, increase their focus in class and be a way for them to continue having fun at school. Ultimately their Assistant Head teacher agreed and granted their wish! By the end of our work together pupils felt they had inspired change in their school and on a wider scale, understood that together, they could create change for all those around them.

Both projects helped us to understand how young children relate to the hopes and wishes of others, and whether they understand the consequences of turning our wishes into action. Their work fed back into development conversations with the creative team, ensuring that as adults they really understood how young children connect with the themes of the show. In addition, the activities we co-designed with pupils were developed into the resource pack that will accompany the show, ultimately ensuring that children’s voices inform all of our work.

All this brilliant work has highlighted that the message of collective wishing, can have a positive impact if we work together and are thinking about ‘we’ instead of ‘me’ – directly connecting with Effie’s final song:

We all have a bit of magic,

That is what our hearts are for!

We can all grant wishes,

Even if they’re titchy small.

But if we wish together,

We’re not alone and life’s less scary,

Everyone, every little single one has one

Brumblefillionth of…

The power of a fairy!

With thanks to Year 2 pupils and their teachers at Friars Primary Foundation School and Oasis Academy Johanna.

The Unicorn’s Schools Partnership Programme is supported by: Albert R. Broccoli & Dana Broccoli Foundation, Christina Smith Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, Old Possum’s Practical Trust, The Portal Trust.

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