Most people believe that wardrobes are very ordinary objects… but wardrobes can be things of magic and adventure, as children at the coast have been discovering this summer.
Years 3 and 4 pupils at Scarborough’s Gladstone Road Primary, St George’s RC Primary and St Peter’s RC Primary have been on an exciting adventure where they have helped and met local heroes from the town’s past.
Pupils received an intriguing invitation to Scarborough Art Gallery from the Professor. At the Art Gallery, they unearthed clues that led them to the Sitwell Library, which the Professor had transformed into her office. The Professor explained that wardrobes are portals between points in time and throughout history people have travelled between them. Over the centuries, a secret organisation called WOOF (Wardrobes Of Our Friends) has worked to meet lost time travellers and look after them when they emerge from wardrobes into the present day. The Professor recruited classes as the next generation of WOOF agents!
Back at school, classes were contacted by lost time travellers, heroes from Scarborough’s history – writer Edith Sitwell, archaeologist Alice Lieder and medieval occupants of Scarborough Castle. Pupils needed to make a plan to help them arrive safely in 2021.
Scarborough Library seemed the obvious location for the time traveller to arrive, so each class arranged to perform their story for the time traveller at the library, in hope that the time traveller’s ‘time wardrobe’ would arrive safely.
An exciting finale took place when, once the children had performed their stories, a seemingly normal wardrobe started to make strange noises, shelves fell down and each of the lost time travellers appeared. Classes presented their time traveller with a guidebook to modern-day Scarborough and sent them off to meet their modern-day descendants.
WOOF works closely on the Wardrobes project with immersive theatre company KIT Theatre, community producers ARCADE, Scarborough Museums Trust and North Yorkshire Library Services and is supported by Arts Council England, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough Children’s University, Inspire Fund & National Literacy Trust.
Andrea Jones, class teacher at St George’s RC School, said: “This has been a wonderful opportunity for our year 3/4 children at St George’s. The children have been fully engaged and excited by their adventures with the project and have consequently produced some high-quality written work.”
Mrs Brooksbank, Year 3 teacher at St Peter's RC School, said: “The children became immersed in the mystery and intrigue of the adventure from the beginning. Their imaginations and inquisitive nature were ignited! They looked forward to the correspondence with the time traveller, with the hope they would finally meet her. They enjoyed working together to create a story which they performed at the library. For the grand finale, the children got to meet Alice Leider, the time traveller from 1853!”
Fiona Richards, of Gladstone Road Primary School, said: “As a teacher, my favourite aspect of this project has been creating the amazing stories with Sarah the Storysmith. The children have let their imaginations run wild, and I feel that I've learned a new, exciting way to teach story writing in the future. The whole project has been an incredible experience.”