Artistic partnership with Alhambra Theatre sees ESOL students receive special recognition

Ruth Peterson | March 19, 2020

A spotlight is being shone on talented students who have developed their English skills and confidence using the power of the Arts.

Following collaboration between Bradford College, the Alhambra Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), the English as a Second or Foreign Language (ESOL) students have been celebrated for a special mention in the Trinity Talent Class of 2019 which celebrates young artists who developed their practice through Trinity qualifications during last year.

Hajra learns to take photos while working at front of house
Hajra learns to take photos while working at front of house

The magic of the theatre

The collaboration enabled them to take part in theatre trips and workshops, in addition to reading and performing William Shakespeare’s works during ESOL classes.

Esther Wilkey, ESOL tutor at Bradford College, said: “The progress they have made is incredible. ESOL is not an arts course but this collaboration has really facilitated their learning through the arts and improved their confidence.”

Celebrating outstanding achievements

The gallery has been created by Trinity College London and Voice magazine to highlight young people in the UK who have achieved a Trinity Music, Rock & Pop, Drama or Arts Award qualification during 2019.

The students have been working towards Bronze and Silver Arts Award as part of the Start programme, run by the Alhambra Theatre. Esther nominated them for their outstanding achievements and perseverance throughout tough obstacles, being asylum seekers participating in Arts Awards for the first time.

To help support their learning, a Shakespeare Club has been set up within their classes, in which they use Shakespeare’s plays to boost their spoken and written skills and two of the students have become members of the RSC Youth Advisory Board.

About our students

Trinity has selected all eight students nominated for the award for a Special Mention to feature in the online gallery: Maryam Bibi, Hajra Bibi, Ulmeet Kaur, Hareth Alshaban, Kristyna Vavrova, Maisoun Namoura, Alaa Eldin, Andis Kaupelis and Azimun Begum.

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “It is wonderful to hear that students from Bradford have been chosen for the Trinity Talent Class of 2019. It is recognition that the partnership work between Bradford Theatres and Bradford College is delivering great results and making a true impact on the quality of students’ lives.”

A successful partnership with the Alhambra Theatre

It is the third year the college has collaborated with the Alhambra Theatre as part of the Arts Award. Esther said the impact of the programme has been exceptional, with one student being helped to overcome her stutter with its support. She said: “She now gives presentations and she is able to speak in front of people with great confidence. It’s just the most amazing thing.”

Many of the students who have taken part in the award have progressed from the ESOL course to do GCSEs and are now on A level courses, while one jumped straight to the Music A Level course. Esther added: “It’s really opened doors for them, because it’s boosted confidence and given them the opportunity to express themselves. They have learnt to believe in themselves.”

About the Start programme

Start is a three-year engagement programme of arts activity between selected cultural organisations and local schools that tackles inequality by working with young people who are deemed at risk of missing out on a creative and cultural education. Bradford College is among Start colleges and schools participating in the Start scheme.

Children from participating schools and colleges have made visits to the Alhambra Theatre over the last two years to see a selection of shows as part of the Start programme, as well as working with the team at the theatre in workshops to develop their critical eye and have fun creating their own artistic work.

You can find out more about the Trinity Talent Class of 2019 on its website.

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