A Blacon boy, who was disruptive at school and not engaging with his teachers, is the star of a new film highlighting how a city theatre company has transformed his life.
George Scott, nine, a pupil at the Arches Community Primary School, is the focus of the film A Story About George, by The Media Room and Dee Video, about the effect that being a member of Theatre in the Quarter can have on disadvantaged children.
In the six-minute film his parents Nicola and Jamie are candid about how the breakdown in their relationship was affecting George so profoundly, that teachers had suggested he should visit his GP and perhaps be referred to CAMHS, the child and adolescent mental health services.
Withdrawn and angry
Speaking to the camera, Nicola explained how she and George had moved out of the family home to live with her mother. She said: “It wasn’t a very nice time for him at all. He became quite withdrawn, he did not like the new school. He would not settle, he would not communicate with the teachers.”
George admits: “I felt angry and frustrated. I used to find school quite difficult because of what had happened. I felt I couldn’t stop myself from behaving badly.”
George was then presented with the opportunity of being part of the Theatre in the Quarter project Best Days of Our Lives and his life bagan to change.
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He worked with professional actors, learnt a musical instrument and performed with hundreds of others to a packed audience at Chester Cathedral.
He said: “When I first joined Theatre in the Quarter I felt like a different person. I have tried to apply myself in school now. Now when she (his mum) comes, the teachers says: ‘He’s been brilliant’.”
Nicola added: “He has obviously found something which has given him a passion. He is more of a happy child now.”
Jamie said: "If George hadn’t had this platform, to work with all this music and all these fantastic actors, if he wasn’t doing Theatre in the Quarter, he’d just be an angry lad.”
Both parents express their pride and emotion in seeing George’s first performance and how they feel about their child’s changed behaviour. Jamie admits that the production ‘blew him away’.
George has learnt to play the drums through the project and, in the film, he describes how playing a musical instrument makes him ‘feel calm’. We then witness him giving a solo drum performance to huge applause from his fellow pupils.
He said: “It’s like a language of instruments. It’s amazing what you can do with musical instruments when you are a player yourself.”
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Artistic director of Theatre in the Quarter Matt Baker said: “Our company has provided opportunities for people of all ages to work alongside professional artists in the making of new theatre. People share their stories, make new friends and grow in confidence. I am brimming with pride when I see how children like George transform through their experiences.”
Producer Jo McLeish said: “Matt’s work has the most profound impact on young people. Matt and Theatre in the Quarter changed George, his life chances and his hopes for the future. I wanted to make a film about his journey and I wanted more people to know about Matt and his incredible work.”