STUDENTS from a Basingstoke junior school put their storytelling abilities to the test as part of a new project to putting the school's values at its heart.

Anvil Arts, which runs the Anvil and Haymarket theatres, has been working with students at Park View Junior school, in Pinkerton Road, to develop a new project with the school’s learning behaviours - tolerance, resilience, cooperation, respect and open-mindedness - at its core.

The six-month project, originated and funded by Anvil Arts, focussed on music and storytelling which embedded the school’s values.

Workshops’ themes inspired by Romeo and Juliet, and West Side Story, gave the children the opportunity to create a musical and dramatic response to the story they were trying to convey.

The project culminated in an intensive week of workshops led by local musician Neil Valentine and actor Vicky Hancock which gave 65 eight-year-olds at the South Ham school the opportunity to explore themes of conflict and resolution.

On Thursday, 23 November, the students had the chance to perform their work to years 5 and 6, followed up by a performance for their family and friends.

Cat Duke, Year 4 teacher at Park View Junior said: “The staff and the children of Year 4 at Park View Junior School thoroughly enjoyed the sessions of music and drama with Anvil Arts.

“The children wrote their own songs and we are all thoroughly impressed with the work they created. Neil and Vicky were tremendous. They had a clear vision when they came to school and the performance on the Thursday was enjoyed by all.

“Even today the children are saying it was a great week and they won't forget it.”

The project was also supported by students from the Department of Performing Arts at the University of Winchester who were able to use the experience to learn from professional artists in a working environment and develop their own on stage skills.