Young people from Bemrose School create rap music video in response to Alex Wheatle’s Crongton Knights

As part of Reimagine, an Arts Council England funded performance programme for young people in areas of lowest cultural engagement, Derby Theatre and creative partners worked with young people and staff from the Apple Tree unit at Bemrose School in Derby to produce Bemrose Knights.

Bemrose Knights is a creative response to Alex Wheatle MBE’s Crongton Knights, an award-winning novel described as ‘a joyous shout of youthful exuberance’, which includes the production of a rap music video performed by young people from the unit and co-created with Tom Craig, Creative Learning Associate for Derby Theatre, rapper and musician, Zeo Richards (from Baby People); freelance filmmaker, Omar Khan and professional photographer, Robert Day.

The project also included drama workshops, acting, performance, hands-on experience and skills in music production and videography; plus a professional photoshoot (which will feature as a photographic exhibition at some point in the future).

Watch the film

To view Bemrose Knights, the rap music video, behind the scenes footage from the project, plus interviews with, and comments from, the young people, teachers and partners involved, take a look at the video here:

Watch on YouTube

This documentary film was scheduled to premiere at the press night of Pilot Theatre's stage adaptation of Crongton Knights at Derby Theatre in March 2020 before it was cancelled due to Covid-19. 

Aims of the project

The Apple Tree unit at Bemrose School is a facility aimed at supporting students to access a mainstream secondary curriculum. Apple Tree provides support, consistency and routine and helps students to establish positive relationships.

Bemrose Knights has been co-created with the ethos and values of Apple Tree and Reimagine at the heart of it, with the aims of the project to: provide goals to work towards, co-create with artistic partners and regional artists, build confidence, provide new opportunities, establish new and positive relationships, acquire new skills and to have fun in a supportive and creative environment.

Bemrose Knights split screen

“Follow your own path, everyone has a say”

During the creation of the project, young people also explored and shared their thoughts on: the Apple Tree unit, Crongton Knights, what they have enjoyed about being involved in the project, what they would like to do and experience more of as a result of being involved, what they would do if they were ‘in charge’ and what they want the sharing of their creative response to convey.

Responses included: “follow your dreams and do well at school”, “take the opportunity to do something you love”, “not all kids are bad”, “if you want to do something, just do it”, “not everyone is perfect, but you can try” and “follow your own path, everyone has a say”

The Photoshoot

Bemrose Knights photoshoot

Photography by Robert Day.

This work with Bemrose School and the Apple Tree unit is one of many learning programmes delivered by Derby Theatre that has been made possible through the funding and support of the Reimagine project.

Read an interview with Tom Craig to find out more