RESTOKE Dance Project

The Dance Department were very proud to have hosted the Restoke Performance Company’s Boys Dance project over October half term here at St Margaret Ward.

Restoke is a socially driven performance company. Based in Staffordshire they combine dance, music and visual art to produce works that breathe new life into forgotten spaces. Through the guidance of their directors - Clare Reynolds and Paul Rogerson they create unmissable performances in unusual settings, recently creating work in Tunstall's disused swimming baths, Bethesda Chapel in Hanley and Burslem School of Art. They co-create their performances with their performers to share the most important and engaging stories from our communities. Their process is driven by meaningful engagement, discussion and their rapport with participants, partners, artists and audiences.

Restoke firmly believes in the transformative power of sharing stories and performing together. Their activities empower, engage and give voice to our city’s residents. Restoke often secure funding to enable participants to take part in workshops free of charge.

The boys from local high schools - Haywood Academy, Blythe Bridge High School and our very own St Margaret Ward Y10 Performing Arts student Thomas Edwards attended Monday - Thursday during October half term. They participated in dance workshops, discussions and spoken word performance sessions on the themes of masculinity, gender stereotypes and what it means to be a boy in today’s society. The project was based on Restoke's recent performance piece 'Man Up' which featured 21 men performing at Goldenhill Working Men's club during August this year - their piece explored similar themes.

We were so proud to watch the final performance on Thursday, created in just 4 days, which examined equality and how boys can struggle with the boxes that they get placed into, the difficulties young men face trying to conform to what a man should be and how they wish to express their own personalities without judgement. The young men spoke so eloquently about these issues and the final performance was full of energy and enthusiasm for a changing world.

Well done to all the boys involved especially Tom!

We look forward to welcoming Restoke back in the future to work with our Dance students on more upcoming projects.

Restoke will also be launching their own FREE youth contemporary dance company classes in January 2019 for both boys and girls who enjoy dance and want to perform! For more details contact Clare from Restoke on info@restoke.org.uk