By: Lucy Donald, With Flying Colours Project Manager
As With Flying Colours comes to an end, I was asked to reflect on the achievements of the project, and the legacy that has been built.
Over the course of the last four years, With Flying Colours has worked with over 2,276 young people, 15 schools, and 104 Plymouth-based arts professionals. With Flying Colours was a co-creation project. Co-creation is the collaborative process whereby professional artists work alongside a community or a group to create something together. Co-creation is most successful when the strengths of every partner are championed.
With Flying Colours has not been without its challenges, Covid-19 blighted the first two years of the project, however the project proved important to schools in their recovery from the pandemic. The projects ethos and outcomes sought to improve performance making skills, confidence, transferable skills, and career aspirations in a time when schools’ resources were stretched, and feedback from schools and partners indicate that the project successfully achieved this.
It is impossible to encapsulate all the creativity, highlights, and special moments across the project in words. Our statistics and reach have been amazing, however the journey all the young people have been on across the project has been its real success.
One teacher summed the project up: ‘A wonderful opportunity for children to shine and grow in a creative environment that schools don’t often provide. The expertise offered was fantastic, resulting in an outcome that schools could not reach alone. Every child was provided a platform to shine and display creative talent.’
The young people involved in With Flying Colours used their personal experiences and ideas to make, shape and perform new plays/performance pieces that tell their own stories. This year, With Flying Colours commissioned FotoNow CIC to create a documentary as all 11 schools, nine delivery partners, two community groups, and youth steering group co-created their very own plays in response to the theme of Our World. The result is the video below, that reflects the spirit of With Flying Colours better than my words every could.
As my colleague, Danni Watmore, and I come to the end of our roles, we hope that the success of the final year of the project ensures there will be a sustainable legacy. We have already seen schools and delivery partners continuing to work together – on musical instrument libraries, drama after school clubs, the introduction of arts weeks in school, and teachers embedding performance making into the curriculum. We leave our roles in a time of hope, and we look forward to seeing With Flying Colours live on in all the people and communities it has touched.
With Flying Colours funded by Arts Council England and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. The project is run by the Plymouth Cultural Education Partnership, a consortium of cultural organisations, higher education institutions, schools and trusts. Theatre Royal Plymouth has been the lead partner for the project.