Front Lounge

Stories from the Suitcase – Dundee Children Unpack their Creativity!

Around 20 Dundee primary school children have been exploring their creative sides during a six-week after-school project.

The group of primary six and seven pupils of Rowantree Primary School, Birks Terrace brought the contents of a suitcase to life, using the items as inspiration for a drama and music-fuelled performance.

Dundee charity Front Lounge delivered the after-school club, led by primary school teacher Ashley Ross alongside Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design graduate Jacqueline Goodall and local drama and music enthusiast Ross Ferguson.

A suitcase of items – ranging from keys, glasses and a voodoo mask to colourful dressing up props and a fishing net! – was unveiled during the first session, with the children then creating a narrative, set design, music and performance around them.  Their final performance was filmed and will be shared online with their parents and carers in the days ahead.

Rowantree Primary School

Rowantree Primary School pupils enjoying their after-school club, delivered by Dundee charity Front Lounge.

Ashley Ross said, “It has been a pleasure to work with these pupils over the past six weeks, getting to know them and supporting them in expressing their ideas and allowing them to learn in a fun and creative way. It’s been about so much more than just expressive arts though. Over the course of the project, we have seen confidence grow, self-esteem improve and relationships being built. Using the suitcase full of interesting objects, many of which were lent to us by Drew Cunningham at Mr Drew Photography, has been an excellent vehicle to develop a variety of skills including cooperation, problem-solving and literacy and communication skills which are so fundamental in enabling and empowering the young people to tackle learning with a positive and confident approach. It has been wonderful working with Rowantree.”

Doug Millar, School and Family Development Worker at Rowantree Primary School added, “Stories from the Suitcase has been a fantastic project and we’re so grateful to Front Lounge for their generosity in making it happen. Giving children a space to use their imagination and explore their creativity outwith the normal school day can reap so many rewards, from confidence-building and teamwork to making new friends. As a school, we are very much part of the wider community, and this collaboration has been an excellent example of local people and local groups coming together.

“But most of all it’s about fun!  The project has given the group something to get stuck into, taking a few weird and wonderful items, turning them into a story and, ultimately, creating a really engaging performance to share with their families and friends – a great outcome in just six weeks! The club was entirely voluntary but it was so heart-warming to see the pupils running into the hall each week and even coming in during the recent in-service day.”

Rowantree Primary School 2

Jacqueline Goodall helped the children with their set design using a range of different art materials.

She added, “We have absolutely loved working with the pupils over the last six weeks and have been so impressed and energised by their enthusiasm and ideas. The really diverse and unusual items within the suitcase really captured their imaginations and it was great to see them turn that into a performance for their friends and family to enjoy. They should be really proud of what they’ve achieved.”

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