VCSE Community Support Hub: East Riding
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Positive Stories For Negative Times; Take Two!

Thunk-it will collaborate with up to 25 young people from Bugthorpe Primary School (6-11) and up to 25 young people in the community of Pocklington, over 5 months to devise two different versions 'Spyrates (Spies vs Pirates): Journey to the Forbidden Island' by Robbie Gordon and Jack Nurse. The performance will be performed live and filmed at the Pocklington Arts Centre in March 2022, as part of the Positive Stories for Negative Times project, produced by Wonder Fools in association with the Traverse Theatre.

Funded to date: £8,956
£0 needed to reach goal of £8,956
100% funded
Finished on 18-10-2021

Thunk-It Theatre is a creative community organisation - passionate about connecting people, telling stories, and nurturing talent - no matter age or socio-economic background. Over the past year, Thunk-It has run five projects, and engaged over 100 participants, artists and creatives as well as an audience of over 1,000 people. 

Thunk-It Theatre is passionate about engaging as many people as possible, to make the arts more accessible and inviting. Over the past year we have exceeded expectations with our project delivery, considering the climate and barriers. We are confident that when moving towards a Post-Covid world, we can only grow stronger and deliver more creative and interesting work that will nurture talent, create connections and build stronger communities, in a variety of different ways. Thunk-It have most recently being funded to create a provison in York with the Ways to Wellbeing Grant and Cultural Wellbeing Grant. 

Working with young people: 

Thunk-It has worked consistently with young people since January 2021; firstly as a lockdown drama club, and secondly as a youth theatre in partnership with Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC). Thunk-It has developed a fantastic methodology of creating work with this age group, as well as supporting the talented individuals in each session. 

Through both of these projects, we have produced 4 short pieces of live performance, created with and performed by the young people themselves.

Producing high standards of performance: 

Chatter - June 2020 – September 2020: ‘Chatter: A Monologue Series’

In our project - ‘Chatter’ we collaborated with 10 emerging actors and 10 emerging writers from across the UK and beyond. ‘Chatter’ was curated and directed by the Thunk-It Team whilst providing support to artists and practical feedback to help progress their craft, such as dramaturgy support and guided one-to-one sessions. This online monologue showcase has now been viewed on our YouTube channel by 500+ people. 

'Really enjoyed that challenge and would love to work with the company again' (Creative)

October 2020 – March 2021: ‘Common Ground’ by Thunk-It Theatre and Barrel Organ.

Created with Barrel Organ for the renowned National Student Drama Festival 2021, ‘Common Ground’ was an intergenerational participatory project which concluded in a showing of a live, online performance created from participants' stories and materials created in a series of workshops. During this project we collaborated with various charities in and around York, including; Wolds Pride, Helmsley Arts Centre, Ageing Without Children, York Mind, Leeds Carers Connections, Pocklington Arts Centre, and Live Well York, in order to reach as many people as possible. In total, we worked with 75+ participants aged 16-25 and 50+. This project allowed us to develop our delivery methodology and administrative skills, following GDPR and safeguarding procedures. In this project we also received a small pot of funding, which as a result, improved our budget management.

'I think I was struck by everyone’s ability to socialise and seek connection and how resilient we are' (Participant)

'Much like a call with friends, you're left melancholy, uplifted, and with a smile on your face.' (Issy Flower, Noises Off Magazine)

Positive Stories for Negatives Times (PSFNT) Season One.

Between October 2020 and July 2021, Thunk-It worked with a small group of members aged 18-25 from Kyra on Season One of PSFNT, where we created an online screening of ‘Bored Women Of The Rooms’ by Sabrina Mahfouz. 

This first round of the project allowed us to learn how to facilitate with people who may have not worked with a professional published text or new writing before. We learnt how to build the groups confidence, as well as instil vital performance techniques and skills in order to create a piece which best showcased their performances and nurtured their natural talent. We also improved our ability to structure and scaffold a project schedule, ensuring that it is both realistic and challenging enough for the participants. We are excited to put this learning into our practice and are thrilled to share our project proposal below: 

After delivering Season One of PSFNT we are ready to apply what we learnt through our first project to Season Two, where Thunk-It Theatre will work with two different groups of Primary school aged children to create a professional performance of a brand new published text - ‘Spyrates (Spies vs Pirates): Journey to the Forbidden Island’ by Robbie Gordon and Jack Nurse. The script features spies, pirates, robots, talking animals and everything in between, and is an interactive, playful and imaginative adventure story for ages 6+ with an accompanying process drama! 

The Project Aims.

To nurture talent in rural locations that do not have easy access to creative opportunities due to social, geographical or financial barriers. 

To create outstanding performances of Spyrates (Spies vs Pirates): Journey to the Forbidden Island by Robbie Gordon and Jack Nurse, at the Pocklington Arts Centre with two groups of up to 50 young people aged 6+, that will be showcased to friends, family, industry professionals, and the wider public - as well as create a filmed version that will be showcased online. 

To provide young people with new experiences, such as; working with published text, performing in a professional venue and working with professional directors, that will nurture their natural performing talent, as well as teach them skills to further improve their talents and future performance opportunities. 

Why is this project important now?  

This project will provide young people (aged 6-11) who are living in rural areas to access an exciting creative opportunity. For many young people in these areas there is limited access to cinemas, clubs, theatre, and other creative outlets, due to lack of transport and in some cases hidden poverty. The Pocklington Post states that 25.2% of children aged 16 and under in the East Riding were living in families with low-incomes in 2018-19 – compared to 24% in 2014-15, showing an increase and further need for free, accessible provisions. This provision offers a great opportunity for personal development, through encouraging confidence building, nurturing talent, and demonstrating the potential and options that the arts can offer.

Due to COVID-19, many young people have been left isolated, and have not had the opportunity to connect together in a physical room. It is important that we allow young people to share creative spaces and work together; to rebuild in-person communication skills, as well as continue to develop their team building, devising, and performing skills. 

During 2021, we have worked with young people from Bugthorpe Primary, Pocklington and the surrounding areas online, in the lockdown drama sessions and our youth theatre with PAC. It is important that we can now transition into physical projects, so that young people can learn how to be creative in-person, as a part of a team and ensemble, as well as how to perform for a live audience rather than film. 

Who will engage. 

There will be two groups that engage with this project; Group 1: Bugthorpe Primary School, and Group 2: Pocklington Community Group. 

Group 1: Wednesdays 3:30-5pm - Bugthorpe School Hall 

Bugthorpe Primary is a small primary school, located 4.5 miles from Stamford Bridge, with around 80 students from surrounding rural villages and areas. There is limited transport in this area and with the closest Arts Centre being in Pocklington, (7.6 miles away) there is a major gap in creative opportunities within the area that are accessible. The school already has a student-led drama group, who create and devise work themselves, showing an interest in developing their talent. This project will allow these young people - and any other students who may show interest in the arts, to further develop their performance skills whilst working with industry professionals, gain experience in a professional environment, and take part in a national opportunity. 

Recruitment: A notification to all parents who have children at the school through the schools regular newsletter and small flyers in book bags. 

Assembly - Jules and Becky will attend an assembly to talk to the young people about the project and promote how exciting this is! 

Bugthorpe CE Primary School Facebook page (175 likes) - We will create a poster for the schools facebook page aimed at parents. 

Targeted Invites - Bugthorpe already has a student established drama club, run by year 6 students. We will approach this group and work with them to recruit fellow passionate performers.  

Group 2: Thursdays 3:45-5:15 - Community Group delivered at Pocklington Scout Hut.

Pocklington Community Group will be open to any young people aged 6-11 in the surrounding areas. Pocklington is a central point for many local villages and connects them by bus terminal and therefore is a suitable place to provide an accessible and free opportunity, such as this. The venue is also within walking distance of two primary schools. In the town there are limited resources for primary aged children, therefore this will allow local young people to access the arts, potentially for the first time, and experience a new opportunity working with a national project. 

Recruitment: Our database of participants parents from the lockdown drama sessions and the three terms of youth theatre (Approx. 30 parents) - we will send an invite to join the sessions and engage with our work in person. 

Schools - We will send promotional material to local schools that we already have links with in and around Pocklington to promote the project, such as; Fangfoss, Wilberfoss, Bamby Moore, ect. 

Press Release - We will send a press release out to local press and media in the hope to be shared in local newspapers and speak on the local radio stations. 

Social media - We will post information on the Thunk-It Theatre social media channels; Instagram - 384 followers, Facebook - 275 likes, Twitter - 384 followers. 

Hard copy - we will put up posters in and around Pocklington and at the Arts Centre. 


This activity will take the form of weekly drama workshops that last 1 hour 30 minutes, led by industry professionals Becky Lennon and Jules Risingham. Each session will progress the performance by learning vital performance skills or working on the script and will be led by ‘Directors’ and the young people will get the opportunity to take on the role of ‘Assistant Director’ so that the young people begin to understand some different roles within performance practices. 

Basic Timeline. 

  • January 2022 - February 2022 - (The Basics) 

Young people will explore the script, themes, characters and build their confidence with performing. At the end of this exploration period there will be a ‘audition workshop’, from which we will cast the show. This session will show the young people a typical process for casting. 

  • March 2022 - May 2022 (Professional Rehearsal Period) 

Block and rehearse the script, led by the Director and young person assistant director. 

  • June 2022 (Final Rehearsals) 

Running and editing the show and responding to notes. 

  • July 2022 - (Performances)

Tech and dress will be done in the morning of the day and a performance will be in the afternoon for parents, friends, family and this will be filmed.  

This opportunity will provide young people with a variety of benefits, including; working with a piece of new text, new experiences, environments, working with a new team, new performing skills and performing to a wide network. 

  • New Work - The script is brand new for this project. This means that it is only accessible to members on this program, which makes it incredibly special and exclusive. 
  • New Experiences - Working with an established theatre company on a professional script to be performed to an audience. 
  • New Environments - The opportunity to perform in a fully functioning, full size theatre venue.
  • New Team - Working with two industry professionals and a group of peers to deliver a great, successful project together. 
  • New skills - Working with scripts, working as an ensemble, and performing to an audience. 
  • New platform - The piece will be showcased on a local, national and international platform. 

 These new experiences are vital for the development and nurturing of talent. Understanding and experiencing professional environments at a young age will help instil the expected behaviour, processes, and opportunities available to young people who are passionate about pursuing a career or hobby within the art. 

Results that we are aiming towards. 

  • 2 industry standard performances created, with positive reviews from audience members feedback (online and live).  
  • At least 10 young people from each group to perform at the Pocklington Arts Centre on the final performance date. 
  • The performances to be seen by 200 people (live and online) 
  • At least 50% attendance across the project. 
  • At least 50% of the young people would like to be involved in a similar project again. 
  • At least 80% of the young people learnt something new. 

This project will provide an arts provision for two cohorts of primary school aged children (6-11) who lack access to opportunities to experience and engage in a performance at a local renowned venue. This experience will encourage young people to seek out further opportunities to develop and nurture their talent, through signposting from Thunk-It. The young people will be prepared to make more work and continue exploring the arts.  


  • The legacy of this project includes: 
  • The young performers will have a better understanding of a professional rehearsal period, audition process, and performance, which will help them understand how to further their exploration into the arts, and their chances of gaining professional opportunities in the future. 
  • The show will be recorded and uploaded onto the website so they can watch this in the future and can be used for their careers (show-reels, etc), as well as for self reflection to improve their performance skills. 
  • The young people will be part of a wider network and understand how impactful working as an ensemble can be. 
  • They will have developed their confidence which will then encourage them to take more professional and creative risks in the future. 
  • They will have a bank of resources, games, activities and professional script to keep and use as they wish. 
  • At the end of the project the young people will have a professional development session that will sign post towards the arts information, such as; possible schools, audition opportunities, places to look for these. 


Success for Thunk-It. 

Creating a provision that seeks talent within the rural community and that the young people enjoy.

This ill be measured by regular check-ins with the young people, noting improvements in; confidence, participation, and performance. We hope that this will help create a community for Thunk-It within the East Riding, that we can come back to in the future and create more provisions that respond to the needs of the community. 

Bringing a national creative opportunity to a rural community that is lacking in arts provisions for Under 11s. 

We will measure this through feedback from venues, schools and the participants, regarding the quality of the final product that we hope will encourage more projects within the rural area, especially for this age group and demonstrating the positive impact this can provide. 

Success for young people. 

Creating a performance to a professional standard, performed live at an acclaimed venue and recorded to share on an international level.

We will collect audience feedback - live and online, as well as young people's feedback to give the young people a sense of encouragement that they are able to create such an impressive piece of work.

Wider understanding of performance skills and how to adapt these for different venues, projects and styles. 

We will measure this improvement through evaluation with young people, such as improved awareness terminology and creative vocabulary. This opportunity may help realise a young person's talent/love for the arts that they may otherwise not have found and understand the process required to create work themselves in the future. 

Pride and ownership over the work and the rehearsal process.

Verbal Feedback from the young people throughout the process, and pre-show/post-show discussions about what the group have enjoyed and learnt. This will creating a shared experience for the young people that they can take pride in, share with their family and friends, and look back on the filmed version for years to come. 

Build confidence in; performance techniques, devising, rehearsal etiquette, and communication skills. 

We will track improvements in each session, give positive feedback to students who are excelling, and note any particular growth. We hope that this improves the chances of these young people involving themselves within the arts in the future, as they will be confident that they have the experience and the understanding of the process involved in creating a professional show.

Reg Number: 06455490 | Charity Number: 1125856