29th January 2019 — There were four BBC award winners under one roof at Queen Mary’s School, located between Ripon and Thirsk, last week as internationally recognised group, The Young’uns, led three inspiring Drama workshops for pupils including Queen Mary’s girl, BBC Radio 2 Young Chorister of the Year, Emilia Jaques.
The three times BBC Radio 2 award winners (twice as ‘Folk Group of the Year’ and most recently Folk Album of the Year for "Strangers") perform not only traditional folk music but, more importantly, their own creations, written with a strong social conscience. The first workshop with Queen Mary’s girls aged 7 – 11 explored British values using songs and stories of the past and the present, investigating what is behind the lyrics and melody of some of their most famous songs with a particular focus on Sybil Phoenix, the first black female recipient of an MBE.
Queen Mary’s 11 – 16 year old girls then had the chance to experience ‘Creativity’, a workshop taking an idea, story or visual image and turning it into lyrics and song. Following a fun vocal warm up with beautiful harmonies, the group focused on "Cable Street", from their recent album "Strangers", a song based around the response to the famous Fascist march through Whitechapel in October 1936.
Head of Drama at Queen Mary’s School, Kate Vaughan, said: “We were extremely lucky that The Young’uns were available just before their next national tour. The girls knew that the group were an internationally famous trio and I think their expectation was that there would be something starry, something patronising, something of the ‘them and us’. They really did not expect three people who were so relaxed, so comfortable in their own skins and in sharing their expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm as equals. The girls really responded to that.”
Maisie Cain, aged 15, felt that the workshop inspired her to think that “you can get ideas from anything, inspiration from anywhere”, Molly Worth, aged 14 said “it’s something new, I’d never heard anything like that before and I loved it” and Emilia Jaques, Queen Mary’s girl and BBC Radio 2 female Young Chorister of Year said “the workshop opened my mind to a different genre of music and it was fantastic to see their dedication to their work”.
Queen Mary’s Head, Carole Cameron was delighted to welcome The Young’uns to the school: “These were inspiring Drama workshops exploring and developing skills specific to Music and Drama, yet the workshops also let the girls experience something new and examine creativity and other transferable skills that will serve them well in the future.”