Earlier this month, we held the first of three special Charles Dickens weekend courses: we focused on ‘Oliver Twist’ and the plight of children in Vicotorian workhouses. The children went on to base their creative writing on the workhouse.
During the course, we focused up to the point where Oliver Twist is rescued from the street by a kindly benefactor, Mr Brownlow. Therefore, much of the focus was upon his horrible ‘bringing up by hand’ in the workhouse, being apprenticed to an undertaker and being put into the hands of the professional criminal Fagin.
The children, some of whom weren’t familiar with the work of Dickens, really enjoyed the opportunity of developing a short play based upon these points of the novel; they were fantastic at playing the rich characters that Dickens is famous for writing; Mr Bumble, the Artful Dodger, The Board and Noah Catchpole, to name but a few!
The children also enjoyed having the opportunity to eat traditional Dickensian fare: meat pies (with a vegetarian lentil bake for our vegetarian participant), sausages, baked apple and custard and, the all round favourite, Deadman’s Sleeve (or jam role-poly as it is more commonly known!)
At the end of the weekend, the children performed to parents and family and read out their creative writing in front of the fire.
As always, we would like to thank everyone for attending, the parents for bringing so much chocolate for the midnight feast (which led to moonlight scampers in the garden) and we hope to see you at our next Dickens weekend course (running in March 2017) where the main text will be ‘David Copperfield’ and we will be focusing on child apprentices in Victorian times.