Shaking up sculpting!

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CHILDREN’S television presenter Amy Thompson hopes to sculpt the minds of youngsters with her one-woman show exploring the world of Wakefield artist Barbara Hepworth.

Amy – who regularly features on Channel 5’s morning show Milkshake – has teamed up with director John Godber and writer Jane Thornton to bring a new learning experience to youngsters in primary schools across the district.

The Sculptor’s Surprise stars Amy as enthusiastic sculptor Ruby who is inspired by the works of Barbara Hepworth at the new gallery in Wakefield. After creating her own sculpture, Ruby faces a crisis of confidence in showing her finished creation.

Amy said: “The play is all about how artists are inspired and focuses on the work on Barbara Hepworth because she grew up in Wakefield and now the children who see our production can go to an amazing gallery to learn more about her work and methods.

“When Barbara was becoming an artist it was very difficult for her, as a woman, to have the freedom to let her dreams develop, which is something that today we take for granted.

“I don’t want to the show to be seen as a girl power sort of thing but it’s about believing in your self and you’re own abilities.

“Not every child is going to leave wanting to be a sculptor, they hopefully are going to leave with the inspiration from Barbara Hepworth’s story and a little more knowledge of her work.

“The can learn from an artist about being confident in their work.”

The Sculptor’s Surprise – organised by Theatre Royal Wakefield in partnership with The Hepworth Wakefield – is aimed at key stage two students aged between seven and 11.

Amy will be touring around schools from March 5 to March 16 and, as well as the main show, will run a pre-show warm-up and workshop after the show. A special preview of the play will be performed in The Hepworth Wakefield itself.

She added: “It is a theatre experience for the pupils and I am looking forward to getting back to acting a bit more after working on Milkshake which is mostly presenting.

“I have experience in children’s theatre and it is a challenge, but really rewarding. They will let you know when they are bored and it’s quite a lot of pressure to keep the interest of over 100 children.

“The best thing for me is seeing their smiling little faces.”

“They have a shorter attention span and so it’s a balance between keeping their attention and informing them about Barbara Hepworth’s work in an interesting way which is interactive with the audience.

“Sculptures are all around us and I make things on stage to show the kids the different stages of creating them.”

“I think interactive learning is really important, and such a fun and unique way to learn, hopefully they will remember it in years to come.”

GEORGINA WATSON