Free Spirits Day Care Communication through Drama

We’ll always go out of our way to adapt our workshops, providing a bespoke experience to ensure the needs of our service users are fully met. Our ‘Communication through Drama Programme’ developed for Free Spirits Day Care Service, is a perfect example of this.

We’re so honoured to have been asked to support Free Spirits Day Care, an incredible charity based in Abbey Hulton, Stoke-on-Trent, who provide a personalised care service for people with an array of complex physical and learning disabilities.

Prior to working with Free Spirits, our ‘Confidence through Drama Programme’ had been running for some time, and we’ve found the format to be really successful. However, due to the needs of Free Spirits service users, we felt that we needed to change the focus a little, and the ‘Communication through Drama Programme’ was created!

The focus of the ‘Communication through Drama Programme’ is ever growing and includes:

  • Interaction
  • Communication
  • Stimulating senses
  • Memory skills
  • Movement

The sessions are filled with music, different textures, signing, movement, group and individualised activities, and so much more. The reactions of those who participate are overwhelmingly heart-warming week on week.

Leading up to Christmas 2018, Free Spirits service users and staff worked with us to create their very own Christmas show. It saw service users and staff recreate the ‘Polar Express’ through a group dance routine, memorised dialogue, and in the background stood the train that the group had created during the show’s development sessions. There was a singing solo of ‘Little Donkey’, more group and solo dance routines of ‘Last Christmas’, and further songs performed in Makaton signing.

The performance also brought the community together, with guest performers from Carmountside Primary Academy and St. John’s Day Opportunities Service.

For the fourteen children, from year five at Carmountside Primary Academy, the experience has had a hugely positive impact. For many of them the term ‘disability’ was very much unknown, and a few admitted to being a little nervous. Their participation in the show was in conjunction with, and in addition to, the ‘Loving Learning through Creativity Programme,’ through which we are a resident arts provider within Carmountside Primary over the next year. This is a partnership programme with Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire Cultural Education Partnership, Arts Connect – West Midlands Regional Arts Council England Bridge organisation, Partners in Creative Learning and YMCA aiming to engage young people, who are disengaged or at risk of becoming disengaged, with arts activities linked to the curriculum.

Through the programme we have been exploring ‘disability’ and the impact arts can have on engagement, and they got to see this first hand during Free Spirits’ show. The children loved the experience and have asked to have more involvement with Free Spirits, and we even received thank you cards explaining how much they had enjoyed it.

“Thank you for taking all 14 of us to Free Spirits and teaching us the Makaton sign language songs…we have done incredibly.”

The Free Spirits show was also made even more special by the input of the audience, who really got involved, singing and clapping along with us. They helped us to truly celebrate the achievements of all those involved in the show and on behalf of Kreative Foundations and Free Spirits we’d like to say a huge thank you for your participation.

From start to end the show was brilliant. It really started off the Christmas spirit in the best way possible – community, friends and families celebrating together. Well done everyone!