By Clive Cobie
8th November 2019
I have recently started a project that I would like to share with you. The school woodland theatre project. The idea came in a breeze of inspiration as do so many. I was pondering how to connect people with nature to help communities grow and work together.
The school woodland theatre project, is going to be a means of achieving this. The nucleus is the desire to learn matched by the desire to teach. Every school has forest school teachers and students, the theatre is a place that is created to encourage the learning experience of all that are involved, the land is offered to a local school by a local landowner, to create their theatre the
Community may like to get involved .
In the first school woodland theatre project a kind elderly couple offered a small area of their land to support the idea, the area chosen was undulating so I started making a circle seventeen meters across into a level surface, the area had a lot of bracken and cut up branches from a fallen tree so after clearing that with my little digger I dug up the bracken roots (bracken is an invasive plant which very greedy for nutrients), after this i turfed the area and wove a loose hazel hurdle around half the area which the children will finish off. The idea is that the children will plant a tree each , which amounts to three hundred and twenty trees around the circle ,each teacher will also plant a tree , then outward a woodland will be planted,there is a certain symbolic and deep meaning connection within this action not only with nature but to the realisation that we are all one big family.
As the project evolves through the infusion of inspiration.The children will learn from forest school teachers, parents and other teachers an abundance of skills that will help them create the props and theatre set from natural materials to put on shows that will inspire action. I believe that the answer to our wake up call is through the children, for they are still connected with nature through their innocence.
I hope schools will become connected with one another, sharing information about the different biodiversity in each school woodland theatre area as each one evolves in its unique environment.
This last week with the primary school in the local village we planted 280 hornbeam trees to surround the theatre, the smaller ones about three feet high surround from the east side around to the south, the west side being much lower as it’s on the original level of the hillside the hornbeam trees are about twelve feet high , this will give the theatre surround an equal level crescent of trees, I chose hornbeam because, one ,they don’t mind growing in close proximity, if they have plenty of light , two I have plenty so I was able to select the size I wanted, the tall ones came from the hazel copse they had stretched for the light, in fact I had to cut a third off of most of the them.
The school children and parents came with their Forrest school teachers and had great fun for an hour before it got dark, it took three days and was very satisfying, the school is going to start using it in the spring, which will give me time to do the brash hedging which I hope will deter deer.