This project involved Teesside Archives working with Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Primary School n Middlesbrough
The activities were aimed at developing the children’s confidence and performance skills.
The play being produced was based on the story of the three McDonald children, who were abandoned by their parents in Middlesbrough just before Christmas 1882.
Drama specialist Terry Wikinson of Team Players Theatre Co. helped the children examine the experiences which the three children of the story must have undergone. They had, within quite a short time period, lived through separation from their parents, hunger and cold, terror on being admitted to the workhouse with its harsh regime. Then, at the other extreme, as they entered the vicarage to spend Christmas there and felt warmth, comfort, kindness, full bellies and soft beds.
The drama sessions also helped the children imagine and portray emotions that would have been felt by the McDonald family. Stylised treatment of the workhouse experience emphasised its dehumanising nature.
The children created several alternative endings to the story before being told what actually happened.