Poetry and Poppies:
Stories from World War One
Explore the First World War in our whole-school primary school workshop
Mark the centenary of World War One, 100 years after the fighting ended in 1918.
Inspired by the poets of Great War, your children can investigate one of our most important historical events from an interactive, drama-based perspective.
Part history, part performance and part literature, the workshop’s focus is on the people of the Great War and their stories. The children create scenes that weave together poetry, interviews with soldiers, and personal accounts from the different people involved.
From Wilfred Owen to Siegfried Sassoon, and from the Christmas Day truce to final victory for the Allies, the sessions take an imaginative look at what World War One meant at the time and what it means today.
Whole school workshop and performance
Children work class-by-class, each class focusing on a different perspective and theme from World War One. These include the young men as they are signing up to go to join the army, the British and German soldiers in the trenches, and the women of Britain whose lives were changed forever.
At the end of the day all classes come together to perform to each other, with the final presentation giving a chronological account of the war. Every child is involved in presenting their work within a soundscape that sets the scenes, interspersed with key dates and facts to give historical context.
The whole day option is perfect for a one form entry school or six KS2 classes. Two or three form entry schools take two or three days, with one class per year taking part on each day.
Alternatively just a few classes can take part in individual sessions of between 40 - 90 minutes. These workshops combine professional theatrical techniques with the language of war poets and accounts from those who took part, taking an in-depth look at the World War One experience.
Guided by an expert drama facilitator and professional actor, children will use their own creativity and imaginations to explore different themes and perspectives.
These sessions are tailored for KS1 or KS2. At the end of the day, morning or afternoon there is an optional sharing session when children have the chance to perform what they have worked on to each other.
What you need to know about our World War One workshop
The director: An accomplished, professional actor experienced in working with children.
Topics: history, storytelling, poetry, imagination, drama, performance.
Age range: Reception to Year 6
Location: In your school hall
In a one form entry primary school Reception and Year 1 work together, whilst Years 2 to 6 each take on a different perspective, theme and 'scene' from the war. Each group attends one session during the day, leading to a final shared session.
Variations in scheduling are possible for larger and smaller schools and junior schools. Two form entry primaries need two days - for half the children each day.
Equipment required: A projector in the hall, connected to Powerpoint.