An integral strand in setting up the Dartmoor Resource project was its outreach element. In 2008-9 MED Theatre employed Clare Saunders as Education Worker, supported by MED Theatre’s Education Officer Abby Stobart, to lead workshops both for the community and for schools. This has been continued in the years since through work in partnership with Exeter University, with RAMM and Okehampton Museum of Dartmoor Life, and through family learning workshops in various locations.
Two transgenerational community myth-making workshops were held within the Dartmoor National Park, in Belstone Village Hall and Moretonhampstead Parish Hall during autumn 2008. Both children and adults from differing cultural backgrounds participated in the workshops that provided a space for individuals to share their experiences and interpretations of myth and legend. The participants worked together using storytelling and drama techniques to create contemporary, original Dartmoor myths of their own.
Between January and March 2009, school workshops took place at two primary schools within the Dartmoor National Park, Chagford and Okehampton. Year 5 pupils explored how Dartmoor myths are specific to their locality through discussion and drama exercises. In small groups the pupils thought up their own new Dartmoor myths using different stimuli as inspiration, such as local, historical newspaper clippings, photographs and other Dartmoor stories. The Arts and Education Officer from the Dartmoor National Park Authority, Willem Montagne, worked alongside MED Theatre to facilitate the year 5 pupils to create shadow puppet shows of their new Dartmoor myths. Animation tutor Tanya Morel took a group from each school and helped them to create animations of myths. The workshops took place over six week periods, culminating in a final performance in each school to fellow pupils, teachers and parents. Visit the schools section of the website to see the shadow puppets and animations they made, and watch the myths unfold.
The contemporary myths that have been created are an exciting and imaginative slant on the original concept of myth, but perhaps more importantly, the process of their creation was a chance to value the ideas and views of members of the community, young and old. The outreach projects were a valuable tool to educate members of the community about the opportunity of adding to and using the Dartmoor Resource website when it was launched in April 2009.
Clare Saunders and Abby Stobart
St Nicholas Priory Films
St Nicholas Priory – a ghostly guide
Who lived at St Nicholas Priory
Moving to Civvie Street – a radio play in three parts by Kaley Cowan, Shanti Sarkar and Amy Shephard – was based on interviews with veterans and their families about the transition from service to civilian life
Subsequently MED Theatre has delivered family-learning workshops in Moretonhampstead, at Castle Drogo, Drewsteignton, at Parke, Bovey Tracey, and at Burrator Discovery Centre on the theme of Trees and other topics.