Press and Client targeted project updates and information.
Summer School with a difference
Calling all Midlands performers! Round Midnight Ltd, the Birmingham based theatre group, is offering children aged between 6-11 years of age, the chance to go to summer school with a difference.
With the last 12 months being difficult for children in particular, the theatre group has places for children interested in acting, singing, dancing or comedy, or if they are already showcasing a natural talent worthy of a place on Britain’s Got Talent and want to hone their skills, then this summer school is perfect for them.
Phil Hyde, co-director and script writer for the Round Midnight Summer School, commented: “We are really pleased that we are able to offer our summer school this year which will be running from Monday 26th to Friday 30th July. With many children finding the last 12 months tough, we hope our summer school will provide them with a platform to showcase their creativity, help improve their mental wellbeing and be lots of fun at the same time.
“The team’s background is in writing and performing comedy for our youth theatre, Raw Talent and we have had some hilarious performances over the years, not just down to the writing, but also the effort the kids put into the end of the week shows, which hopefully friends and family will be invited to.”
The award-winning theatre group, which has been delivering high quality education and creative arts for over 30 years, recently picked up three Digital City Awards, including VR/AR Project of the Year, Best Use of Technology and The Tech for Good Award for its Virtual_Decisions programme, a one of a kind programme which uses VR in education and focuses on delivering an early intervention programme for young people that explores gang culture.
In addition, Round Midnight has also been nominated for the Services Innovator of the Year Award at the Innovation Awards which will be announced at the Awards Celebration on Thursday 1st July, held at Millennium Point, Birmingham.
Round Midnight Ltd tackles challenging subjects within personal, social and health education for both primary and secondary schools.
Sami Cornick, co-director and script writer for the Round Midnight Summer Schools, added: “We deliver educational workshops to schools all year round, with many of the sessions covering topics such as gang culture and knife crime. We are incredibly passionate about working with young people and this is why we offer exciting arts projects during the summer. It’s so important that young people get a break from education, they need to have a laugh!”
The Summer School will be held at Kingsbury Village Theatre, Coventry Road, Tamworth, B78 2LP, 10am to 4pm.
The @virtualdecisions project press release will appear here soon.
Theatre Company Delivers Virtual Reality Programme to Help West Midlands Police to Reduce Knife Crime.
Birmingham- based theatre company, Round Midnight Creative Arts is working with West Midlands Police to help reduce knife crime within the region.
While knife crimes have fallen by 8.5%* in the West Midlands throughout the pandemic, the region still has the second highest knife crime rate in the country behind London, according to official figures.**
As part of its Virtual_Decisions Universe, Round Midnight was commissioned by the West Midlands Police to create a new virtual reality (VR) film called Virtual_Decisions: KNIVES, following the success of its award-winning film about gang cultures. The new knives film explores the reasons why many young people carry a weapon and the consequences of this, and the film is designed so participants can choose their own path and make decisions at different stages, each having a different outcome. Once the participants have taken part in the 11-minute virtual film, they then take part in a specially designed creative workshop that explores their decisions and the consequences of their actions, allowing for an open and honest discussion.
The VR in education is currently being trialled with three schools, including Hamstead Hall Academy in Handsworth Wood, Greenwood Academy in Castle Vale and Ormiston Sandwell Community Academy in Oldbury. The three schools also provided the actors for the knives film so have been involved in the production. A second trial will take place in four schools in the Lozells and Sparkbrook areas of Birmingham before it is officially rolled out at the start of the new school term in September across the West Midlands.
Lucy Kirwan, temporary chief inspector from West Midlands Police which has funded the VR programme, commented: “It is essential that we educate youngsters on the dangers of knife crime as too many people are seeing carrying a weapon as their only option and too many lives are being lost.
“The Round Midnight team has created a really engaging way to educate young people on social issues that could have a real impact on their lives. The Virtual_Decisions Universe has proven to be impactful, and we saw through the first Virtual_Decisions: GANGS, how this way of educating children, which allows them to be the decision maker, can drive positive change. With the new knives film, we are hoping for the same success so we can continue to reduce knife crime across the West Midlands.
Sami Cornick, development manager at Round Midnight Ltd, commented: “We have seen that using theatre and VR helps educate young people on important subjects within personal, social and health education has resulted in real change, so we are really pleased to be working with West Midlands Police on such an important issue.
“Our Virtual_Decisions: GANGS programme worked really well so we know educating children on these social issues can help them throughout their lives, show them how to make the right decisions and most importantly save lives. Also, the way this has been created means that hopefully this can be rolled out across the UK, with other police forces, neighbourhood police units, in schools and in prison services as part of rehabilitation programmes.”
Round Midnight has worked with Professor Peter Langdon from The University of Warwick who works in the Centre for Educational Development, Appraisal and Research to create the VR videos and the supporting workshop materials.
Peter commented: “Round Midnight’s Virtual_Decisions Universe is providing a real solution to help with some extremely serious social issues. Educating our children in this way shows them the repercussions of their decisions and actions and it has the potential to help save lives in the future.”
Round Midnight Ltd, is an award-winning theatre group, which has been delivering high quality education and creative arts for over 30 years and tackles important subjects within personal, social and health education for both primary and secondary schools. It has recently picked up three Digital City Awards, including VR/AR Project of the Year, Best Use of Technology and The Tech for Good Award for its Virtual_Decisions in education about gang culture.
Birmingham theatre company reaches new heights with groundbreaking ‘Tech For Good’ programs
Round Midnight awarded £48k from Innovate UK
Following on from successful VR in Education program VIRTUAL_DECISIONS
The company plan to create an interactive digital platform to deliver live workshops to schools across the country.
In March 2020 Innovate UK launched a £20m competition looking for business-led innovation in response to global disruption caused by COVID-19. UK businesses were invited to submit project proposals of up to £50k to develop new strategies in wake of the global pandemic.
As winners of the previous Innovate Audiences of the Future fund, Round Midnight, a Birmingham based theatre company were invited to apply and in response proposed the creation of LINK_UP: Remote PSHE Learning.
In September 2018, in partnership with BAFTA award winning production company BDH, Round Midnight created VIRTUAL_DECISIONS; an early intervention virtual reality program for young people that explores gang culture, knife crime and anti-social behaviour.
By wearing a virtual reality headset, each participant is placed in a realistic scenario where they are faced with multiple dilemmas in which they must make a choice. Each choice results in various outcomes, showing that every action has a consequence.
Following the immersive 8 minute VR film, a drama workshop then explores the issues raised in more depth. Through discussions and drama exercises the young people are able to reflect on their own personal journey within the VR and compare it to that of others, making it a user led – and user shared – experience.
Since it’s launch in April 2019 Round Midnight’s expert facilitators have delivered the VIRTUAL_DECISIONS program to over 1000 young people in the West Midlands and Greater Manchester. The program has also been supported and endorsed by:
- David Jamieson, the West Midlands Police Crime Commissioner
- West Midlands Police Violence Reduction Unit and Probation Service
- The Greater Manchester Magistrates Association
Due to their recent success with the “Business-led innovation in response to COVID-19” grant from Innovate UK, Round Midnight will be able to continue the important work they do with young people – promoting #KnowledgeThroughExperience.
With this grant Round Midnight will be collaborating with experts to research health and wellbeing and what that means for young people, particularly during and in the aftermath of COVID-19. The findings will aid in the development of a new digital platform; LINK_UP.
Due to launch in November 2020, LINK_UP will be a platform to “bring people together, to learn together” by:
- delivering digitised workshops to secondary schools
- using live experienced facilitators as avatars
- Utilising the VIRTUAL_DECISIONS film and it’s themes
- combining interactive VR drama with Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) topics
For more information and to stay up to date with the LINK_UP program, visit the Round Midnight website and social media platforms.
When asked about LINK_UP Sami Cornick, Development Manager of Round Midnight spoke about their previous practices that led to this upscale in creative learning:
“Since 1992, Round Midnight have specialised in teaching difficult subject areas through Theatre in Education (TIE) performances. We have combined our knowledge of transferable creative methodologies with modern-day technology to develop a unique, cutting edge experience for young people. It is through this experience that young people can explore the world around them in a simulated and safe environment, where they can achieve a greater understanding of themselves and their decisions, in addition to the world around them”.
John Durrant, Director of BDH Immersive said;
“Round Midnight and BDH Immersive are developing a pioneering digital platform with LINK_UP. Audiences will be able to interact with live, animated avatars and interactive virtual reality content. Whether it’s used in the classrooms or in the comfort of young people’s own homes, audiences are going to love the immersive experience.”
The LINK_UP digital platform will be designed and created by Round Midnight and BDH Immersive, with research supported by Professor Peter Langdon at University of Warwick and Dr Stephanie Burnett-Heyes lecturer and expert on adolescent brain development, mood, decision-making and social interaction.
Dr Burnett-Heyes said:
“LINK_UP aims to explore innovative ways of using immersive and interactive technology to engage young people to discuss important issues around mental wellbeing, which is likely to have being impacted by COVID-19 and lockdown. Adolescence is a fundamentally important, developmentally sensitive period for social and emotional wellbeing and it is vital we support young people at this time”.