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Workshops at St Roch’s Secondary School

Workshops at St Roch’s Secondary School


We’ve just finished a series of workshops at St Roch’s Secondary School in Glasgow and I’m fizzing with inspiration. We’ve been working with a brilliant group of deaf and hearing students there, exploring and testing out ideas for our new show ‘The Arrival’. 

The story is about migration and follows a man who makes a journey to start life in a new country. It’s based on an extraordinary graphic novel by Shaun Tan. It’s a story told entirely in pictures. There are no words.



The 20 students at St Roch’s have been our Research and Development team for the project. We have used pages and chapters of ‘The Arrival’ as starting points for discussions, games and exercises. We have explored ways to communicate and collaborate when you don’t always share the same language. For example, how can you give someone directions, or ask for things in a shop, or play games together? We have looked at film-clips from Scotland’s past, of people making journeys from here to Canada or the United States, and the farewells as the boats left Greenock. With the support of the Scottish Refugee Council we have heard from a visiting speaker, Abdul Bostani, about what it’s like to be a refugee in today’s UK, and learned about Abdul’s work setting up a football team, Glasgow Afghan United. We’ve created our own strange, surreal animals and turned them into shadow puppets. More than anything, as the director of the show, I’ve had the chance to see the story with fresh eyes.

That’s why at Solar Bear we like to work in this way. For us, working with young people at this early stage is crucial in shaping the final project. It inspires us and takes us to places we never expected. A big, big thank you to all the young people involved, and to Miss Quinn for all her support and advice in making it happen. ‘The Arrival’ is already richer for their involvement.

Jonathan Lloyd, Creative Director, Solar Bear


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