THE HISTORY OF BITESIZE
The BITESIZE THEATRE COMPANY is a professional touring theatre company for schools.
BITESIZE was set up in September 1992 by Artistic Director Linda Griffiths to specialize in theatre for young people.
Our aim is to produce high quality, accessible shows for a schools audience and so our annual programme of between ten and twelve productions contains a mixture of shows from New writing to Shakespeare. It includes educational shows based on National Curriculum requirements, adaptations of Classic Stories and entertaining seasonal shows. We also have a comprehensive Workshop Programme available throughout the year, and a blossoming Youth Theatre.
When we started in 1992, our touring area consisted of schools in the North West of England and North Wales; but in the intervening years, we have steadily increased our coverage to include almost all of England and Wales; mailing the20,000 schools on our database twice a year. We split the country into 8 touring Areas with a tour base in each, making close to 1200 school visits a year.
In 1993, Bill Robertson became Writer in Residence at Bitesize, allowing the introduction of new writing, plays commissioned by the company and an expansion in the number of productions, and BITESIZE became the resident professional theatre company in a Community Secondary School, Ysgol y Grango at Rhosllanerchrugog, Wrexham. Then during 2000, the Company took up an offer, from St.Christopher's Special School, Wrexham to spend part of our rehearsal time at their school and we still spend part of our rehearsal time in these two Schools, although we now also have rehearsals rooms at our base on the Rhosddu Industrial Estate, Wrexham where you will also find the BITESIZE Youth Theatre.
A large portion of our work involved running workshops for Year 9 Pupils studying Shakespeare for the SATs exams, and when, in 2008, the Government abolished SATS it left the company in a difficult position, and meant a reduction in the Theatre Company's activities. BITESIZE are still touring to schools but we now only offer productions over the Christmas period to schools in the North West, North Wales, Lancashire and the West Midlands. We are still able to offer WORKSHOPS throughout the UK.
About a sixth of the work BITESIZE does is with Special Needs children, covering the full range of disabilities. The productions are taken to the schools; which is particularly important for Special Schools as it allows the children to be happy and relaxed in their normal environment and so feel at ease to join in the various participatory elements in the performance. It also eliminates the problems of access and the cost and difficulty of transporting numbers of wheelchair bound children to a theatre or other venue. Additional elements are included to increase their accessibility for as wide a range of disabilities as possible, including children who are sensory deprived and would otherwise be unable to attend or benefit from a theatrical performance
The enjoyment and benefits gained, particularly by the disabled children, are immeasurable , and judging by the comments we receive, the shows are appreciated by staff and
pupils alike : "The sheer quality of the performance ensured that all of the children and staff had a wonderful afternoon." "It certainly helped their speech and language."
"Everything about the production exuded professionalism, the company literally had the entire audience captivated." "A tremendous success. The children were wild with
excitement..... so worthwhile since our children are unable to see live shows because their parents find the wheelchairs a major problem."
BITESIZE shows run with between 3 and 6 actors; playing multiple roles; and usually include large amounts of audience involvement. We carry lights, sound, costumes, set, props with us and we make our shows fun to watch and to be part of. We pride ourselves on the quality of our productions, and believe that quality should never be compromised because we are "only" performing for a school's audience; after all; if we do our job well enough, the children watching will form the adult audiences of the future.
BITESIZE Youth Theatre offers work experience placements for local pupils on GCSE, BTEC, A level and Graduate Courses, as well as running BTEC courses in house.
The Company is fully insured and, like school staff, all of our personnel are checked by the DBS under the provisions of the PROTECTION of CHILDREN ACT.
The BITESIZE THEATRE COMPANY is a wholly independent organization. We DO NOT receive grants or any other monetary assistance from Local or National Government; the
Lottery; the Arts Councils; or any major Commercial Sponsor. Our income come solely from selling of our productions direct to schools.
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