Easter Skooling – Urban Arts Style

Samantha Bell and Aishley Docherty have been well known on the street dance scene in Blackpool for many years and offer a range of classes via their respective companies, FY Wingz and Urban Arts Network. In 2014 however, they started an innovative charitable initiative called Skool of Street.

Skool of Street was initially a summer-holiday project which engaged over 400 people, both as participants and audience members, in a range of urban arts activities. AltBlackpool reported on last October’s culmination event at The Grand Theatre of which Aishley said, “The feedback was all positive and we have since been approached several times about running another project. We found that there were so many different benefits for the partcipants that this was definitely something that we wanted to repeat.”

As a result, throughout the Easter holidays they will be hosting another programme of activities for young people, this time in Fleetwood: Skool of Street Duz Wyre. Starting Monday 30 March, sessions in Streetdance, Drama, Graffiti, Beatboxing and MC-ing will take place at Fleetwood High School and run Monday to Friday 11am to 4pm for two weeks. During this time, all participants will be working towards a showcase performance at Marine Hall on Sunday 26 April at 7.30pm.

During the workshops, participants can expect to learn new skills as well as performance techniques and to build general confidence levels. The process will also be filmed and edited into a short documentary which will highlight the benefits of this project for young people, and give an insight into their developing interests, skills and talents. This film will be shown as part of the culmination event.

The supporting artistic team of the organisation includes Jay Madden, Will Panter and Karl Hanrahan, all specialists in their particular fields of urban arts who will, alongside Sam and Aishley, be running workshops during Skool of Street Duz Wyre.

A parent of one participant from the last Skool of Street project said, My son has got so much out of this project, he’s gone from a self-doubting boy who thought he was rubbish at everything, to a lad with a LOT more confidence in himself. You are to thank for that and I am truly grateful.”

If you’re aged 7 to 19 years (or know someone who is) and are interested in being a part of this free programme of activity then email Sam and Aishley at [email protected] or call 07814106100 or 07856310094.

Tickets to see the culmination event at Marine Hall on Sunday 26 April cost just £5 and can be booked online or via their box office in person or on 01253 887693 (10.30am to 4.30pm). To see galleries and videos follow the Skool of Street Facebook Page or find them on Twitter: @skoolofstreet.

This project is funded by Wyre Council, but in the past they have received funding from Leftcoast, and Revoe local area funding.

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    Melanie Whitehead is the Creative Director of The Old Electric, Blackpool's newest theatre. She previously worked for the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre.

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