Out to Play

During 2015, Drama Artist Ben Mali Macfadyen collaborated with teachers and pupils in 4 partner schools across Glasgow to explore the role of Drama and Storytelling within Outdoor Learning.

Out to Play seeks to facilitate interaction with the natural world through quality artistic experiences, re-thinking traditional views of nature as merely ‘sites’ and ‘reserves’ and noticing and appreciating nature on our doorstep. Sessions are tailored to the unique surroundings of each school, and through imaginative play & adventurous learning, Out to Play aims to deepen young people’s connection to our natural world.


The project encouraged collaboration between the Teachers, Pupils and Drama Artist to create a holistic programme of learning which will have a lasting legacy after the residencies are over. During Out to Play 2015;

– 283 Pupils across 4 primary schools took part in creative outdoor learning sessions with Drama Artist Ben from March – June.

– Teachers had the opportunity to co-lead sessions with the Drama Artist, and lead their own sessions, utilizing new skills in combining drama, storytelling and outdoor learning.

– During the residencies, pupils also planted their own ‘Living Stage’ and watched it bloom into the theatre production Uprooted which was performed in their school playgrounds in late summer. The set for this production was then replanted into one of the school playgrounds, transforming a grey fenced area into an enticing, unique garden playspace.

– Out to Play CPD Workshops were delivered to the wider community of primary school teachers across Glasgow. These sessions shared best practice from the residencies and offered ideas and creative learning techniques on embedding drama and storytelling within outdoor learning.

– The Drama Artist Ben created an Out to Play Resource Pack showcasing 8 session plans developed during the Out to Play residencies. This 72 page resource is packed full of tried and tested outdoor drama ideas, stories, games and creative outdoor learning techniques from the residency and was shared widely to 93 participating teachers across Glasgow at the CPD Workshops.


“Ben has inspired me with lots of activities and stories – he has planted a seed and I look forward to implementing projects next season… I have loved being a part of Out to Play and the children have absolutely loved it also!” Jilly Moffat, Teacher Aultmore Park Primary

A wonderful experience for the children and myself. A fresh look on how to develop Outdoor Learning in a more creative manner. Fantastic experience. I have learned so much from Ben. His nature and good humour with the children have been lovely to observe – thank you!” Tommy Hynes, Corpus Christi Primary School

I think regular time outdoors encourages children to be creative and explore. I will definitely keep the routine going next year. Really enjoyed the experience. Loved the stories. Ben was great! This has been a very worthwhile.” Patricia O’Keefe, Teacher St Vincent’s Primary

“The project introduced the children to some very important messages and I think that it did this in an accessible and natural way. I particularly enjoyed the use of storytelling and think that this is something I can use.” Sam Harte, Teacher Balornock Primary

I hadn’t realised the power of imagination within outdoor learning.” Irene Boyle, Corpus Christi Primary

Pupils thoughts…

“I have learned about nature and how it works. It was very fun too!! Thank you for taking us outside, I learned so much.” Eni, P7 Pupil Corpus Christi Primary

“Thank you for teaching us. This program has made me aware of nature and made me more confident and happy” – Aini, P6 Pupil St Vincent’s

“I really enjoyed the adventures!” P3 Pupil, Aultmore Park Primary

“I loved it because nature is what is inside me. Thank you for everything. It has been a delight.” Leona, P4 Pupil, Balornock Primary