Bringing in the new year, Thai-style

Royal School Manchester students welcomed in Thai New Year with art and dance.

The Clonter Opera Theatre group held a theatre set design workshop and dance performance as part of this term's topic of Thailand.

Deputy head Anne Gough said: “Students took part in a set design workshop to create silhouettes with Thai images. As some students have a visual impairment they particularly enjoyed exploring the changing coloured lights. Some students wowed us with their fine motor skills by independently cutting around the different shapes.”

She added: “The following day staff and students performed a Thai dance choreographed by Clonter. Everyone wore black and props were white and silver. This high level of visual contrast helped students to attend to the performance. The young people who use wheelchairs were involved in the dancing. It was a very visual and inclusive performance enjoyed by all.”

The project was backed by Manchester law firm Irwin Mitchell.

Amanda Harman, who runs Clonter's educational outreach programme, said: “When Irwin Mitchell first suggested a project for Seashell Trust we leapt at the chance and developed a multi-sensory Thai performance with the staff there. The staff's openness to share their knowledge and work together was fantastic. There was enormous potential for this project to be adapted to the special needs and interests of the individual characters involved.

“The project took place in an installation made up of abstract shapes from large square-based pyramids with wheelchair access to smaller components which the participants could explore and interact with as part of a performance.The accompaniment was created by the children and their carers playing percussion instruments. Students selected images connected with a Thai theme to be cut out and used as silhouette lighting projections. Some worked on choreographed sections based on their own improvisations and postures suggested by the Thai theme.”