Dance company to create a show with local Pupil Referral Unit

Dance theatre company Protein is to work together with ARC on a project with young people from Bishopton Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) in Billingham. Dancers from the company recently held a taster session to recruit students aged 12-14 to take part in a three-week creative residency.

The project offers the participants an intense period of daily class, creative workshops and rehearsals that will culminate in a performance for an audience of family and friends and a Bronze Arts Award certificate for the participants. The group will create original movement and text based on themes of identity and peer pressure, taking inspiration from Protein’s touring production Border Tales.

Designed as an opportunity for the young people to reinvent themselves outside of the school environment, the project explores how the collaborative process of making a dance performance can teach new skills, improve feelings of self-worth and increase confidence. 

Luca Silvestrini, Artistic Director of Protein said: “I create dance to make a real difference to people’s lives. Working with people and using their own ideas and movements to create high-quality performance-led work is at the core of my work as a choreographer. I feel honoured to be working with these young people from Bishopton PRU who I feel have within them the potential to be inspirational creators.”

Annabel Turpin, Chief Executive of ARC also commented: “Luca and the team have had great success working with other PRUs across the country so we are excited to see how this new project develops. We are looking forward to welcoming the pupils to ARC and hope the experience will have a positive impact on their future learning.”

Leanne Chilton, Headteacher of Bishopton PRU said: “The young people who attend a PRU need structure, support and guidance and most of all they need people to believe they can be a success – to raise their self-esteem, develop resilience and embed the belief that anything is possible with hard work and determination.”

London-based Luca Silvestrini’s Protein produces work based on topical themes using humour, music and choreography. Committed to working with marginalised people, the company has previously worked on similar projects at nine PRUs across the country, with students who are not fully accessing mainstream education. Skills gained by the students have been shown to extend well beyond the life of each project, including improved confidence and practical skills. 

Protein visited ARC last year with their show May Contain Food.