Shadowball has a particular focus on inspiring young people who are often marginalised and under-represented by presenting them not only with the stories of black achievers as role models, but also with a tangible means of raising their own aspirations and realising their goals through sport and performance. It addresses and offers tangible ways of overcoming racial prejudice and exclusion as well as offering them sustainable routes to developing life skills and improve their chances of avoiding truancy and exclusion.
Building confidence through a range of performing and sporting activities is fundamental to Shadowball, as is the inherent emphasis on collaboration and engagement challenging young people to actively work together thus encouraging leadership, group responsibility and teamwork and enriching their lives with the potential to achieve success. It addresses issues of physical activity and healthy living by offering opportunities to increase fitness in an enjoyable way and offer new skills in which they can excel.
Shadowball is an exciting project, engaging young people through the arts, and sustaining project impact through a sports programme. The project delivered a range of outcomes from the high quality performances to the legacy of baseball.
Cleveland Watkiss, Singer
“I believe this has been a life transforming experience for us and especially the kids “who are the real stars”. My wish is that they are inspired to do great, great things with their gifts.”
Julian Joseph, Composer
“This production makes the kids question things and gives them the courage to stand up for themselves. It was exciting, uplifting, I loved it and the children were just wonderful.”
“The context for learning became so real. They learnt history but I felt they really understood it. They felt empathy, which usually really difficult to teach and to get across what it must of being like in the past. They have a greater understanding and are much more open about issues such as racism. They now understand why it is much a big issue, whereas before they would shy away from talking about it and they can talk comfortably about it as they understand what it is. Some children have taken more interest in history and their quality or writing when talking about Shadowball topics was of a very high quality, which allowed them to see what they are capable of.”
“We were thrilled to be part of such a professional production… there have been so many positive impacts including developing confidence levels, team building for the staff, …..a host of surprises of unexpected children showing the most amazing talents! The whole idea of linking two very different schools brought into life the very theme Shadowball was exploring… was quite inspirational…”
“The team were extremely professional and had high expectations in terms of the singing, acting and overall performance. They forged strong relationships with the children and were warm, receptive and caring. It was quite a humbling experience observing the endless patience and upmost professionalism of the team. The enthusiasm and vibrancy of each individual along with their warmth, genuine passion and belief in both the project and the children has been amazing to witness. Working with Cleveland and Julian was particularly inspiring for the boys, what amazing role models and talents musicians they were!”
“The part I enjoyed the most was definitely when we all sang ‘Take me out to the ball game’. I was because of all that hard work through all of Shadowball was released in that moment by every single person that was on the stage having an absolutely amazing time.”
“I will definitely remember the last performance best when we all threw our hats up in celebration and the look on the Shadowball staffs’ faces. I will also remember the joy of seeing my family watching me and the thrill of their comments.”
“Performing the first time put my heart in my throat. This experience has changed my confidence by letting my talent free and performing to the public.”
“The Shadowball project helped me be aware of racism and segregation in America. Thank you.”
“It has reminded me about how learning should not be about government targets, which don’t actually value education, but about teaching the whole child… Shadowball increased confidence and aspiration in all children. Many children are much more confident in all subjects and aspects of school/home life. The children almost did not believe their achievements, which nurtures self-belief and the ability to take risks and dream.”