What we changed
Priority Seating is providing the education tool that schools need to help pupils understand human experiences of migration.
Dr Mazzilli has developed an educational pack, which she has delivered in schools in north Essex and Suffolk. So far she has reached around 150 pupils from year 6 through to year 13.
Workshops with A Level and GCSE students have been discussion-led, with pupils examining and performing extracts from the play. Pupils in junior schools watch extracts from the play and write their own dramatic responses.
Stefanie Savva, from Ipswich Academy, said: “The workshops successfully engaged the students, who used the material as a means to help them reflect on their own condition. As a teacher, I gained a better understanding of the students’ situation and this helped to develop my sensitivity to their cultural and social realities as children of migrant families. The workshop also made me more aware that using material that was so relatable to the students’ experiences enhances engagement and learning.”
“Theatre is the ideal medium for challenging misconceptions,” explained Dr Mazzilli, “sharing a common space, in a live situation, is very powerful. And it gives people the opportunity to embody another’s experiences.”
A public rehearsed reading of the play at the Mercury Theatre Studio in Colchester has reached a further 80 people.
“There is a global trend for national sentiment that is quite negative,” explained Dr Mazzilli, “Brexit is just a symptom of a bigger problem. Priority Seating speaks not only to the British experience. It reflects what is happening all around the world.”