History: Year 5 Get Into Character During Victorian Drama Workshop


Earlier this week, Year 5 were treated to an amazing interactive learning day to enrich their studies of life in Victorian Britain.

The session, which was delivered by the Rainbow Theatre Workshop, began before the children had even entered the Bede's Prep Theatre: while they were lined up outside, one of the actors appeared dressed as a Victorian school teacher, armed with his cane, threatening to whip them into shape!


With faces soon dirtied with some makeup, and suitably chastised by their 'School Masters', Year 5 walked in stunned silence into the theatre, completely in character.

Once there, the children learned about the lives of impoverished children in the Victorian era, from their experience of schooling to their factory work to 'pure finding' - a particularly smelly job collecting horse manure for selling on as compost!


They explored the lives of Toshers by acting out sorting through the waste in London's sewers for something to sell, Chimney Sweeps by clambering through small spaces in the theatre, and as Mudlarks, scavenging through imaginary sludge on the tidal banks of the River Thames.

In amongst the role play sessions, the children were shocked by some sad realities of the time, including stories of those children who suffered 'fossi jaw' from making match heads and accounts of orphaned children deliberately blinded to make them more appear more pitiful when begging.


The day was packed with valuable information, all of which was delivered in an exciting, interactive way. The whole experience will help to reinforce all of the things that Year 5 have been learning about in their History lessons, and we will continue to refer back to the day in the coming weeks as we move deeper into our studies of the historical realities of life during the Industrial Revolution.


Learn more about the History department at Bede's Prep >

Learn more about life in Year 5 at Bede's Prep >