Oakwood Welcomes the Queens of Syria

Last week Oakwood welcomed cast members from the ‘Queens of Syria’ Refugee Theatre Production, currently touring in the UK.

A school governor, Mrs Ali, parents, producers from the refugee production company and the British Council supported the visit and were delighted by the enthusiasm and cultural understanding shown by our children.

John Rolfe, Outreach Manager, from the British Council said: “Visits like this are fantastic, young people should feel safe and empowered and being able to meet real people with real experiences is invaluable.

All the group had a very enjoyable and highly interesting time and all of your young people were so positively involved and a credit to your excellent, and very special, place of teaching and learning and the British Council is proud and delighted to work with your wonderful school, colleagues and the Co-operative Academies Trust whose ethos and values are well exemplified in all aspects of your excellent school.”

The women visited the school as part of their UK tour performing to a full house at the West Yorkshire Playhouse later on that day and were delighted to meet the children of Oakwood’s including a group of children from Syria. The visitors spent time delivering a workshop to Year 4 children, followed by a question and answer session. Children had designed posters of the human rights that were important to them and they were able to speak with the visitors about what was stopping children in Syria from feeling safe. The refugee women commented on the welcoming atmosphere of the schools and said: “the displays around school are lovely, I didn’t realise children of this age in the UK would be so educated and aware of what’s going on in my country– I’m so grateful for their knowledge.”

The aim of the production, ‘The Queens of Syria’ is to inform and educate the UK public about Syria and the realities of life as a refugee. The project is a life changing opportunity for refugee women and is part of Developing Artists long-term commitment to broadening skill sets and opportunities within the refugee community.

Head of School Jo Speak said: “the world comes to Oakwood and Oakwood comes out into the world. We were delighted to be asked to support this visit and give our children greater context to the work they have been carrying out in class. The Queens of Syria are great role models for the children they met- using the arts to communicate their experiences and their desire for a positive, peaceful future.”