Former Eastenders actress mentors Seevic students

Thursday, 23 February 2017

IMG_8038Students at Seevic College were treated to a masterclass in authentic performance with former Eastenders actress Ann Mitchell this week.

Ann, patron of charity Side by Side, who starred as Cora Cross in the hit soap, was joined by Katrina Wells who helps to run the charity providing humanitarian aid to refugees.

Relating to their current coursework on the impact on persecution, the college’s A-Level Drama & Theatre Studies students discovered first-hand how they can deliver a true portrayal of suffering – with two refugees aided by Side by Side also in attendance.

Offering relief to those living in the refugee camps of Calais and Dunkirk, Side by Side coordinates the donation and delivery of basic humanitarian aid and help to match volunteers and their skills to areas where they can bring most value.

The charity was invited to the college to facilitate students meeting refugees to inspire their current coursework pieces on topics such as refugees, mental health and the holocaust. 

Ann said: “Theatre is all about experience, so this workshop is crucial research for the students in portraying the truth for their audiences.”

Refugees Tamer and Khan, who would like their surnames to remain anonymous, shared stories about their reason for leaving their homeland, the journey that they had and what life is like for them now.

Elisa (L) And Laura (R) DowningStudent Laura Downing, 18, said: “The workshop today has been really interesting.  What we’ve learned will be so helpful to embed within our coursework.”

Laura’s twin and fellow student Elisa added: “You don’t always get the full story from the media, so it’s been really helpful in getting a better understanding so that we portray a truthful image of how people are treated.”

Katrina said: “We need to remember that, if we look at our family history, the majority of us will have a refugee element within them.

“Whether it’s by joining a local group or simply offering a friendly conversation with a refugee, there’s so much that we can do to help these people feel wanted.”

Tutor Clare Smith added: “It’s been great to have Ann, Katrina, Tamer and Khan in to shape the students’ ideas today.

“It’s made us all realise that there’s a lot more happening outside of our little bubble, and what we can do to help.”

Ann concluded: “It has been absolutely thrilling to work with the students from Seevic College.

“I’ve been really impressed with the attitudes of the students in particular, and how open-minded they are.  Their work has been exceptional.”

For more information on Side by Side, visit www.sidebysiderefugees.co.uk.

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