8 January 2018

Children from Oasis Academy Johanna started the New Year with a memorable trip to see a new stage adaptation of ‘Jack and the Beans Talk’ at the Omnibus Theatre in Clapham on Friday, 5 January, after winning a special competition which Lambeth primary schools were invited to take part in.

The Omnibus Theatre teamed up with local literacy charity Beanstalk last year to run the contest among schools in the area to promote the magic of books and reading among young children and the enjoyment they give when brought to life on stage.

Beanstalk works with 18 schools in the Lambeth area to recruit, train and place volunteer reading helpers to help children that need extra reading support. Each volunteer supports three children and sees each child for two 30 minute sessions a week, during term-time, for at least one academic year. With Beanstalk's support the child's approach to learning and enjoyment of reading is transformed.

Felicity Paterson, Senior Producer at Omnibus Theatre, said:

“We are thrilled to welcome the fantastic charity Beanstalk to our building - an important organisation whose mission aligns closely with our own - using the arts as an enjoyable way to improve the literacy skills and confidence of children.”

Sarah Wykes has been volunteering at the school for over a year and was invited along to the see the performance with the school children:

“I have been supporting three girls aged seven to eight as a Beanstalk volunteer for two years. It is one of the highlights of my week. Each of the girls has their different needs and personalities, so I have to use a range of strategies for engaging them, which is what makes the sessions interesting - and usually great fun. It is so rewarding to see their confidence growing, and to feel that you have made a contribution to the progress they are making with their reading.”

Rachel Ellis, Beanstalk Team Leader, said:

“The tale of Jack and the Beanstalk is one which is close to our hearts at Beanstalk; it inspired our name and represents the development of children and the importance of nurturing their growth and imagination. So we are really grateful to the Omnibus Theatre for such a wonderful treat that the children have enjoyed today.”

Beanstalk needs more compassionate and caring members of the local community that would like to volunteer as reading helpers in Lambeth. For more information or to apply, please visit our volunteering page.