Theatrical assemblies to support service roll out in Stroud
In 2016, Stroud District Council (SDC) rolled out a food waste collection service for all residents. The roll out included reduced residual bin capacity so getting good uptake of the food waste service was vital. In order to promote awareness of this, a series of theatrical assemblies were created and run by Resource Futures in all 43 of Stroud District’s primary schools.
This intervention aimed to motivate children to encourage their families to participate in the new food waste service at home, through a lively and informative theatrical experience. To prompt questions and discussions when the child arrived home, very child was rewarded with a sticker. SDC set a target of all primary schools in the district to receive the assembly with one large school receiving it twice.
The theme of the assembly was an engaging 20-minute play, using topical and local references, audience participation, song and puppets. The script for the play, ‘Wuff Gets Waste Wise’, was finalised following a meeting with Stroud District Council and Gloucestershire County Council. A professional actor was employed who was both a committed recycler and a local resident.
The set, props and costume were sourced locally where possible using waste minimisation principles. Stickers were produced featuring the puppet dog ‘Wuff’, a central character in the play, holding one of Stroud’s new food waste caddies.
Recruiting some of the schools (by phone and email) was initially challenging despite being free, but once the first assemblies were underway, the photo and/or video clips provide ample encouragement for schools to sign up.
The assemblies took place as soon as the new service had been rolled out, so it was not possible to record increased tonnage as a result of the activity. However, the project was deemed to be a success due to the enthusiasm demonstrated by the children and from the feedback given by teachers.
The theatrical assemblies were watched by 5,950 children who then all took information home to their parents. In addition to the pupils, between five and 15 staff at each school also saw the assembly so were educated in their new food waste collection service as well. 34 staff evaluated the success of the intervention with 33 stating that the assembly had been good or excellent at explaining the new food waste collection system. 100% of staff asked said that they thought the assembly had been good or excellent at motivating pupils to help their families to use the new food waste service.