Every October, organisations around the globe celebrate Black History Month; an opportunity to share, celebrate and understand the impact of black heritage and culture. This year, the Mercury Theatre worked with Gail Egbeson, at BOTE Books, to run a project with local a school, Braiswick Primary. Gail is a close artist of the Mercury’s having been a Mercury Creative and taking part in our writers development programme.
It was important that to celebrate Black History Month this year, a project occurred which was legacy driven and would have a long-lasting impact for the young people involved.
Twenty young people at Braiswick Primary School, across Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 took part in a workshop on the 4th October 2023. In just three hours, Gail worked with students to create 7 microplays inspired by iconic black figures. Inspiring personalities included; Steven Bartlett, a British-Nigerian entrepreneur who appeared as an investor on the BBC’s Dragons’ Den and Betty Campbell, the first Black headteacher in Wales and responsible for putting Black culture and history on Cardiff’s curriculum.
As well as writing microplays – which are very short plays with a small cast for all non-thespians out there – the young people paired their microplays with illustrations (you can find a couple of these on this page).
After the workshop, Gail and BOTE Books published all of the microplays and illustrations into a book which was distributed to all of the students involved with a copy for the school and the Mercury. This ensured the project lived on and allowed everyone involved to read, remember and take joy in all of the work done and ensure young people are aware of the importance of Black History Month, and understand the impact of black heritage and culture.
I would like to thank Carla Lillicrop, Deputy Headteacher at Braiswick Primary School, for allowing us to bring this brilliant project to their students, the fantastic pupils for their enthusiasm and fascinating stories and pictures, and finally to Gail Egbeson for delivering a great workshop as well as producing an inspirational anthology.
More information about BOTE Books can be found below:
Imagine a world where children are empowered to share their unique ideas and become published authors at a young age. At BOTE Books, we make this dream a reality! With over ten book series published so far, we are dedicated to expanding our offerings to inspire even more young minds.
Our books are not just any sets of stories, but a way to ignite creativity and encourage innovative thinking in children which is why we teamed up with Mercury Theatre to create “Inspired” which has offered a new and special way to celebrate Black History Month in present and future years to come.
Other books within our collection have been inspired by school improvement priorities, creative challenges or even spontaneous ideas that just needed to be explored. Our mission is to help children turn their ideas into published works that will ultimately make a positive and lasting impact on their lives.
Engagement Producer, Mercury Theatre