Peter Court, Prudence Khangeziwe (Aldinville educator) and Zanele Mhlongo (Creative Arts Assistant) celebrate with the learners from Aldinville Senior Primary School after they had just performed an inspiring drama piece.
The five MRP Foundation Schools in KwaDukuza, KwaZulu-Natal, have been reaping the benefits of having the exceptionally talented theatre legend, Peter Court, overseeing the creative arts programme. With his years of worldwide theatre experience and invaluable teaching skills he’s been breathing new creative life into the schools, helping to build confidence with teachers and impart life skills into learners.
The actor, dancer, director, writer, teacher and puppet master has won many Durban Theatre Awards for various productions, including the prestigious Fleur De Cape Theatre Award. However, one of his greatest achievements is hearing how much his past learners enjoyed his drama lessons, something he hopes to see happen in the MRP Foundation Schools.
“My biggest hurdle as a child was my dyslexia. I always find it ironic that I continually return to the education sector when as a child, I couldn’t wait to get out of school. I vowed that if I ever went back into schools it would be to make learning and education fun and that’s my greatest challenge!”
And that belief continues to be his heartfelt mission for his role as the Creative Arts Implementation Partner for the MRP Foundation Schools Programme for the five schools in KwaDukuza: Aldinville Senior Primary School, Kearsney Primary School, Nyakana Combined Primary School, Zilungisele Primary School and St Christophers Primary School.
The theatre master is in charge of overseeing the creative arts branch of the holistic education model to stimulate greater learner and educator development. Peter has been developing and implementing a new school arts curriculum for Grades R-9.
“The creative arts makes creative thinkers; it teaches us to think, listen and co-operate. It teaches young people to wrestle with problems and develop problem solving skills and the solutions to the challenges they face now and in the future. It can be applied to so many other areas of our lives and work.”
His role will also be key in transferring his years of expertise to educators, assisting them to deepen their visual and performing arts skills so that this knowledge can filter down to the students.
“Over the next year we are planning workshops and training sessions for teachers to work with some of the top creative arts people and gain valuable experience, insights and motivation to be more creative.”
His drama initiatives are already shining through in the MRP Foundation annual school plays, where learners have been performing their hearts out in their original productions. Written, performed and organised by the learners themselves with the help of a few educators, the plays are a testament to the learners’ incredible talents and enthusiasm. And with the added guidance from Peter, drama will continue to thrive in the MRP Foundation Schools.