Meet the Artist: Beth Powdrill
Find out more about the artists delivering your darts activities
Beth Powdrill is a drama practitioner who delivers creative sessions in schools as part of our Creative Classrooms project. We interviewed Beth to find out more about where her inspiration comes from and what she enjoys most about working creatively.
What inspired you to become a drama practitioner?
I’ve always wanted to work with young people, especially in a creative way. In fact, 9 year old me wrote in an autobiography, ‘when I grow up, I want to be a teacher and in my spare time do acting’. Having been a primary school teacher for nearly 10 years and developing my drama practice alongside that, through work with other theatres and projects, I feel like my work with darts offers me the chance to bring together my passions.
Seeing young people connect with themselves (as well as being able to work in character), have the chance to work imaginatively, have their ideas valued and develop in confidence, resilience, creativity inspires me every day.
What do you love most about creating drama in schools?
I find that classroom dynamics are really interesting. Everyone has their own personality and their own story to tell and I love getting to know all the young people I work with and what makes them who they are. Working with the class teachers is a privilege too, as they offer valuable insight into the young people in their class and their support means the project can be extended past the weekly session and embedded through the week.
I love the fact that when we are in the sessions, we are a team – adults and children – and we work together, value each other’s opinions, share ideas and create something unique.
I find it fascinating how the same story can spark different ideas in different groups and the contributions the children make often surprise me and allow me to view things from another perspective.
How has the pandemic impacted your work? What have the challenges been and how have you adapted your practice?
The pandemic obviously saw face-to-face sessions being paused and practitioners having to devise different ways to reach young people. At a time when ‘isolation’ seemed to be all we heard, it was so important to keep connected and keep young people engaging with the arts. This often meant delivering sessions online, which meant having to adapt activities so that they could be done by individuals at home whilst still creating a sense of togetherness.
During the tentative return to in-person sessions, another challenge was social distancing and trying to create drama which took this into account. I’m so happy to be able to return to work with young people face-to-face without the constraints of social distancing but the impact of the pandemic still causes challenges, such as children being required to work alongside others after having been apart for so long, as well as understanding big emotions that themselves and their classmates may feel. However, the Creative Classrooms project provides a safe space to work through these challenges and I feel really lucky to be a part of it.
Where do you get your ideas and inspiration from?
Oh there really are so many places! Creative Classrooms sessions are based around high-quality children’s books so a lot of inspiration comes from the stories, settings and characters within these books. Often, the best ideas come from the young people themselves. I can plan a session and one or two contributions can change the course of it because their ideas are just too brilliant not to run with!
We’re really lucky that darts prioritises artist development too, so I’ve had the chance to work with other practitioners and they have been so generous with sharing their ideas and practices. I look forward to having the chance to come together with others and I always leave feeling energised, with fresh ideas to use in my own practice going forward.
Find out more about the artists creating your darts activities here.
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