Wimbledon school gets its own philospher

Children will be working on life's big questions

Theatre maker Daniel Bye has become 'Philosopher in Residence' at a Wimbledon school as part of a Polka Theatre project.

The year-long philosophy project called Enlightenment will see Daniel (right) working at Pelham Primary School and with a range of children to inform a new Polka theatre production for young people.

He will visit Pelham Primary two days a month until July 2014, helping children to find their own answers to some of life’s big questions.

The project culminates in a brand new theatre production to be staged at Polka during autumn 2014 that will allow many more school children to experience the philosophy process and ask the questions they always wanted answered.

Daniel poses that children are very good at asking ‘why’ questions, but less good at answering them and very good at answering ‘what’ questions, but less good at asking them!

Daniel will be asking children questions about what they know for sure, why they’re sure, what they think other people know and what they would like to know themselves.

A key principle of Polka’s artistic policy is to give children and young people a voice through the use of theatre. Polka have seen the growing relevance of philosophy in schools as a teaching approach that encourages children to ask challenging questions, express their opinions and think creatively – all of which are excellent foundations to create a valuable, relevant piece of theatre.

Daniel Bye said of the project: "Although I've barely started, it's already a real thrill working as 'philosopher in residence' at Pelham. It's a really wonderful school and the kids are full of spark, wit and imagination. I can see it having a hugely transformative effect not just on the show I'm currently making for Polka, but for my practice as a whole."

Enlightenment is set to be a playful, interactive theatre performance posing some big philosophical questions as dilemmas to the audience. Daniel aims to create a genuine two-way dialogue with the audience; with the performer learning from the audience, not just the other way around.

Daniel Bye will continue as Philosopher in Residence of Pelham Primary School until July 2014 with Enlightenment set to open at Polka in autumn 2014. Enlightenment is supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

November 8, 2013

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Daniel Bye