Comedy, fun and chaos come to Thurrock Schools in Schoolyard Scenarios

Live theatre and practical workshops will animate schoolyards across the borough as the Complete Commedia Company bring performance and fun to Thurrock’s young people.

The Complete Commedia Company is all set to perform in Thurrock’s school playgrounds.  The Thurrock – based company, with their unique brand of comedic shenanigans, is celebrating funding awards from both Arts Council England and Thurrock Council to produce this exciting new touring production of Schoolyard Scenarios. Schoolyard Scenarios provides the opportunity for students to discover the ancient Italian art form of Commedia dell’Arte and see the potential for theatre and performance in outdoor spaces that may not usually be used for such activity. Performing outdoors also allows for a very covid-secure performance.

Commedia dell’Arte developed in Italy in the sixteenth century.  Street-based touring troupes roamed the countryside, set up stage in market squares and performed to the gathering crowds. Schoolyard Scenarios aims to replicate these troupes taking a hilarious and original show from school to school around the borough between 12th – 16th July.  A post-performance workshop will introduce Commedia’s characters, skills and style while the internationally acclaimed company Gandini will teach the students circus skills.

The most essential element of Commedia dell’Arte is the Character masks. Each mask design represents a specific character, such as an old man or a servant, and has had huge influence on the theatre of today; such as pantomime’s harlequin. The schools will be introduced to ten stock characters which they will learn to recognise by their masks and movements. The workshops will be filmed and edited together, bringing the borough’s schools together to showcase their new skills; including a song which each school will contribute to.

By taking part in this project, each school will become part of the Commedia Community Chorus and the aim for the future, when it is possible to do so, is to bring these schools together as part of a live festival of Commedia dell’arte in 2022.

Bernadette Wakeling, Artistic Director, Complete Commedia Company said “I’ve always wanted to take live theatre to Thurrock schools and Schoolyard Scenarios is the realisation of that ambition. It will be a pleasure to work with so many of our schools in this exciting, new enterprise which strives to unite fun with learning. We always entertain, we just happen to educate as well’.

More details of the Schoolyard Scenarios programme can be found at:

The Complete Commedia Company is a professional theatre company with 20 years’ experience in the classical Italian artform. To find out more about the Company, please go to

07791 183999