Urban Mischief – The Final Stage

January – May 2014

In 2012 – 13 Box Clever embarked on an ambitious project to write a piece of new contemporary theatre in collaboration with a group of young people from eight schools in London and South East England. At the end of the first phase of the project in July 2013, students watched a rehearsed reading of their writing activity, directed by Iqbal Khan.

Box Clever turned this collection of ideas and new writing by the young people into a production written by Artistic Director Michael Wicherek and directed by Iqbal Khan with original music by OneNess Sankara.

The premiere of the new play took place at the Tramshed as part of Greenwich Children’s Theatre Festival on 19 April 2014 before touring to the schools where the play was originally developed.
Click here to view the 2012-13 project summary

Number of performances or workshop opportunities: 9
Number of audiences and participants: 600

Feedback and evaluation

Urban Mischief was previewed at the Tramshed: a new piece developed by young people and then turned into a play by writer Michael Wicherek and Box Clever. A small but really varied community audience of about 45 were really gripped and moved by the play.

In some ways the characters we met living together in the midst of a block of flats shone a light on the way urban communities live right up against each other and yet are increasingly isolated and ‘lost’ in today’s world. The lives of two young heroes of the piece crossed-over and ran in parallel at times but as they battled to survive and move forward one always felt they were ultimately on their own.

The piece was movingly supported by a sound artist who added to the landscape playing instruments, singing and beat boxing and even playing the odd character. The play clearly left the audience thinking and provoked at the end (a really animated after show talk back took place) but also left us feeling a little uncomfortable for the urban society that we have now built and live within.

Jeremy James, Artistic Director, Greenwich Children’s Theatre Festival

98% of young people said they enjoyed working on the play and seeing the finished script in performance

87% of students said they had developed new skills and gained confidence because of their involvement with the project.

I most enjoyed the script-writing sessions because it was nice to feel I had an input. I also enjoyed watching the performance as it was enriching to see the product of hard work
Year 11, Chichester High School

Most of all I enjoyed working with the actors and the other schools to create and improve the play. I enjoyed this because it helped me to develop skills for myself and also I got to meet new people and see and understand what it would be like to write a play.
Year 11, St Edmund’s Catholic School

Working with Box Clever has allowed me to write better plays and has given me knowledge of literature and the theatre.

Year 10 students, Bow School

I feel that I haven’t just learnt from the professional actors but also from people my own age as we met and worked with students from other schools.

Year 10, Riddlesdown Collegiate

By working with Box Clever, I have learnt to work well with other people and come out of my comfort zone. Also it has allowed me to be more creative with how I present a scene having rehearsed it only a couple of times.

Year 11, St Edmund’s Catholic School

86% of teachers strongly agreed that their students have developed new skills and gained confidence by being involved with the project.

“As I teach a BTEC course which is vocational-based, working with professional artists enriches and brings the curriculum alive.”
Head of Drama, St Edmund’s Catholic School

“I really liked how the process valued pupils’ ideas and showed them how to turn ideas into a finished production.”
Teacher, The Charter School

“Travelling as a small group to London develops people and collaboration skills between students and staff. They have learnt how to devise, write and amend to a polished performance. This collaboration with Box Clever makes teaching worthwhile and brings the curriculum alive.”
Head of Drama, St Edmund’s Catholic School

“The project is one of the best we have had at Bow School and I look forward to working with the company in September 2014”

Year Learning Assistant, Bow School

Supported by
Arts Council England (Grants for the Arts)

Project Partners
Greenwich Children’s Theatre Festival, Greenwich and Lewisham Young People’s Theatre, St Edmund’s Catholic School Dover, Chichester High School for Girls, The Clarendon Academy Trowbridge, St Catherine’s Catholic School Bexley, The Charter School Southwalk, Bow School of Maths & Computing Tower Hamlets, Riddlesdown Collegiate Purley, Carshalton High School for Girls Surrey

Creative team
Iqbal Khan (Director); Michael Wicherek (Writer); OneNess Sankara (Composer and performer); Anna Bosworth (Digital Theatre Practitioner); Sarah Booth (Design); David Ajao (Actor); Charlyne Francis (Actor)

What happened next?

Further development projects are being considered.