Olympics health and safety drama goes to the top of the class
The body charged with bringing the Olympics to London in 2012 – and thus responsible for what will become the biggest construction site in Europe – is employing a ‘dramatic’ method of getting the message through to children that building sites are dangerous places.
The Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA) is working with theatre company Arc to present a short play to pupils at primary and secondary schools in the five London boroughs that will play host to the Games in four years’ time. Characters ‘Anya’ and ‘Daniel’ portray what can happen when children ignore warnings and gain access to building sites to use them as a playground. When Daniel falls and injures himself the audience of school-children are asked to come up with ideas on ‘what happens next?’ and to act out their own ideas of what other hazards and risks they might encounter on a busy site.
Speaking about the ‘Stay safe, stay out’ campaign, ODA chair John Armitt said: “Health and safety will always be our number-one priority – not just for the thousands of workers building the new venues and infrastructure but also for our neighbours who live and work around the Olympic Park. This project gives us a real opportunity to engage with children and excite them about the opportunities that come with hosting an Olympic Games.”
He added: “I have always had a belief in using theatre in schools – if children can act out concepts, they stick with them for far longer.”
Artistic director of Arc, Carol Pluckrose commented: “This approach really works when the partners are committed and working well together.”
A resource pack is provided for schools and teachers taking part in the scheme, and all the children receive a certificate and a pack of activities to work through afterwards. By the end of this term, 14 primary schools in Hackney, Greenwich, Newham, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest will have participated in the workshops, with a further 10 secondary schools slated to take part next term.