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Year 9s Take Part in an Environmental Storytelling of York’s River Systems 


Nine Year 9 Mount pupils joined Fulford School and Archbishop Holgate’s School at Theatre@41 to share their stories of the health of York’s river systems and discuss what can be done to improve them. 

Each school group attended six workshops that included a short history of rivers in York, the impact of human activity and a trip to the river closest to their school. The workshops also included discussions around Art and Activism.

The fascinating workshops then led to pupils writing and performing their own play. Mount pupils chose to tell their story through the eyes of Ariel, the spirited young Mermaid princess from Disney’s Little Mermaid. In their piece, Ariel is fascinated by the world beyond the sea and ventures up the River Ouse to discover the source of pollution of the oceans.

The project formed part of a series of Art and the Environment workshops led by Sarah, a University of York PhD student, as part of her research subject for her thesis. At the event, course supervisors, members of the council and other invited guests enjoyed a Q&A session.

Mrs Cook said, “It was great for our pupils to be involved in protecting our rivers. The whole experience was also a good opportunity for our pupils to see how PhD study works, gain confidence and life skills through performance and art, and learn about environmental activism. Many thanks to Sarah for inviting us to take part and the very best of luck with her thesis.”

“This project was a great experience for me, we had so much fun together and also learned many new things.” Sofiia

“My experience of arts for the environments was very good. I learnt a lot about York’s river systems and had fun doing the play afterwards.” Evie

“During the project, I learnt so many new things about the River Ouse and how I can help protect it. I also really enjoyed performing and spreading awareness about this topic in the theatre.” Emilia

“I learnt to be aware of the river systems and how charities can help. I really enjoyed my time throughout this process and our play was so fun to perform as well.” Amelie

“I really liked how you could learn about the different things going on in the river in greater detail and how you got to do a play about the river, based on a fairy tale. It was really fun and interesting to hear other people’s stories, from other schools, and it was good that we got to perform what we had been rehearsing in school. It was a very interesting and brilliant experience.” Josephine

“The arts for environment project was a great opportunity to learn about our local rivers and to build on our group’s ideas. I particularly enjoyed performing, as it felt our hard work was getting shown, and it was a great way to end the project. I also enjoyed answering the questions as it told the audience a bit more background detail about our performance. Thank you, Sarah, and Mrs Cook for this great opportunity!” Minnie

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