The council’s Linking Schools Project sees schools from across the borough join together for special lessons aimed at exploring identity, celebrating diversity, championing equality and promoting community.

As part of this project, leading young people’s theatre, M6 Theatre Company, developed unique showing of their latest production, ‘A Tiger’s Tale’, to schools involved.

Twelve schools are involved in the linking project. The schools came together in pairs at the theatre and the children threw themselves into activities despite only having known each other for a few hours. The activities proved a great way to help them learn things about themselves, not just their linking classmates.  Each paired class produced their own circus performance.  They learned to trust each other, to explore what they are capable of individually and together.  They raised the roof!

As the project draws to a close each child paints two rocks around the linking themes. One rock is to keep at school and one is to exchange with their link class.  Both sets will be hidden on the school site.

The rocks, like the friendships they have built, are beautiful. And just like the link, the children, are learning that they can create something special and let it go.

The rocks are legacy.  When September comes the next class involved in the link will begin by hunting

A Story from Rochdale

As part of this project, leading young people’s theatre, M6 Theatre Company, developed unique showing of their latest production, ‘A Tiger’s Tale’, to schools involved.

The play, based on the true story of the Holmfirth Tiger, is a high spirited balancing act of circus, puppetry, live music and song to schools across the borough. From a circus train in South Africa, to a steamboat on the Atlantic Ocean and onward to West Yorkshire, a ramshackle travelling troupe tell us the unbelievable true story of a family of acrobats and their adopted tiger cub.

The production was written by Mike Kenny, one of the England’s leading writers in young people’s theatre. Mike is the recipient of numerous awards, was included in the Independent on Sunday’s list of Top Ten Living UK Playwrights and his plays are performed regularly throughout the UK and all over the world. Music in the show is by James Atherton, musical director and composer for theatre, television and film including work for the New Vic Theatre, Oldham Coliseum and the BBC.

Debs Palmer, chief executive of M6 Theatre, said:“Friendships and experiences in childhood stay with us all our lives. They are the foundations of what we believe about ourselves, each other and the world around us. It is our pleasure and privilege to work with Rochdale council on this project, where education and arts specialists combine to create memorable and potentially life-changing experiences for children.”

How we feel about Linking work

Erica Field, teaching and learning advisor at the council, said: “The children were brave and kind and incredibly supportive of each other. The M6 visit created the opportunity for them to have a shared experience with their linking classmates and supported them to learn about each other while discovering things about themselves. Their enthusiasm and joy was infectious.”

There is something magic that happens, beyond the teachers planning, quality texts and social contact theory, when two children discover that they are both the same and different and that this is more than ok.  We are doing the project in Rochdale because all of our children deserve this magic.

How others feel about Linking work

Councillor Donna Martin, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “Those children will have had an experience that will stay with them for years to come, perhaps a lifetime. The purpose of the linking network is to support schools to develop a positive, cohesive ethos by helping children to explore identity, celebrate diversity, champion equality and promote community.” 

Fiona Fogarty, Teaching and Learning Advisor for the LA, said: “The whole experience was amazing. Really moving to see the children relate and watch the show together.  So glad I was able to attend.”

Year 3 girl: “I didn’t even know we were going to best friends!”


Erica Field, Rochdale Borough Council