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Fresh from starring in a spectacular Christmas play, young learners from the College of Haringey, Enfield and North East London are now springing into the new year with an interactive production aimed at children.

<i>Tales from the Shed</i> brings both original and traditional stories to life, creating a performance full of colour, characters and fun.

Performing Arts learners at our Enfield centre have worked together with the world-renowned Chickenshed Theatre company for many years. During their recent run of Pinnocchio, our learners had a source of inspiration very close at hand - the star of the show was an alumnus of their National Diploma course.

Gavin May - who played the title role in the production of Pinocchio - graduated from the Diploma in Performing Arts in 2003, and went on to complete a foundation degree in the same subject. He is just one of a huge number of the cast and crew members at Chickenshed to start their careers on the innovative courses that the College run in collaboration with the Southgate-based Theatre.

Zoe Hayes, Education Coordinator for Chickenshed, says: “The Diploma learners are involved in every aspect of the theatre’s work – as actors and crew in our productions, and in the children’s and youth theatre groups and workshops for which we’re famous.”

Pinocchio’s epic cast not only thrilled the audience with music, dance and song, but Gavin’s acrobatic range was both daring and brilliantly executed.  As Zoe explains, however, there is much more to Chickenshed beyond what happens on stage: “Both the show and theatre are fully inclusive.  Many of the performers have disabilities and the dialogue and action are explained throughout by signers who at the same time are central parts of the overall performance.”

The BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts is a two year full-time course, nationally regarded as an equivalent to three A-Levels by the examining body Edexcel.  Students explore music, dance, drama and musical theatre through a series of core and optional units, offering a practical and established route to University education.  Learners attend approximately 18 hours of lessons and practical sessions at Chickenshed per week, equipping them with relevant experience of inclusive theatre, alongside the BTEC programme of study.

Tales from the Shed will be performed on Fridays and Saturdays at Chickenshed’s Studio Theatre until 27 March.

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