Sewell Park College pupils perform at Norwich Puppet Theatre

Pupil puppeteers and their character creations are taking to the stage to put on some very special shows in Norwich.

Throughout this week pupils from five schools and City College Norwich will be performing shows they have produced during a project with Norwich Puppet Theatre.

About 130 year seven pupils from Sewell Park College have taken part, and yesterday some of them presented five short performances to fellow pupils as well as staff and parents at the theatre in Whitefriars.

Trevor Gannon, associate assistant principal of Sewell Park College, said the project had been an excellent experience for the pupils.

He said: 'The students made their own puppets and then made the shows based around their puppets. There is a lot of variety in the shows - all the genres including science-fiction, fantasy, horror and comedy.

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'It has been a great experience for them and it has given them the chance to use a variety of creative skills.'

The other schools involved in the project and whose pupils are also presenting shows at Norwich Puppet Theatre this week are Falcon Junior School, Sprowston Junior School, Henderson Green Primary School, St Michael's Junior School and also City College Norwich.

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About 400 young people in total have been involved in this Start Programme project which aims to give children a chance to experience the arts.

The pupils watched Red Riding Hood and The Chalk Giants at Norwich Puppet Theatre, and then worked with members of the theatre's creative team to create their own puppets.

They then worked with puppeteers Shane Connolly and Zannie Fraser to learn how to bring their puppets to life, and used their new-found puppetry skills to create their own shows, many of which are included in the showcase this week.

'They have visited the theatre to watch two shows, and now it is their chance to be on the stage,' said Gemma Khawaja, education and outreach officer at the theatre.

She added: 'All the schools and pupils involved have really risen to the challenge. This has been a fantastic opportunity for the theatre to really engage with these pupils and students, many of whom have never experienced a close connection with a cultural venue like Norwich Puppet Theatre.

'We were delighted to have been chosen as a partner for this extremely worthwhile programme, which has paved the way for similar activity in the coming years.'

The project has been funded by the Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts.

• Are you involved in an arts project in Norwich? Call reporter Emma Knights on 01603 772428 or email

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