Drama for communication, confidence and wellbeing
For information on how COVID-19 is affecting Speech Bubbles see our information page.
Sir Mark Rylance is the patron of Speech Bubbles
What is Speech Bubbles?
Speech Bubbles is a highly acclaimed drama intervention, supporting the communication skills, confidence and wellbeing of children in key stage 1.
Increasing numbers of children are starting school with communication difficulties. Speech Bubbles was developed by London Bubble Theatre, alongside Speech and Language Therapists and schools since 2007.
In partnership with Peoplescape Theatre, we offer Speech Bubbles to school in Manchester, Salford, Stockport and Trafford local areas. We are proud to be part of the North West partner group, which also includes Oldham Theatre Workshop and M6 Theatre.
VIDEO: What is Speech Bubbles?
What is the need for Speech Bubbles?
10% of children and young people in the UK (a total of 1.4 million) have a speech, language, and communication need (SLCN). However in areas of disadvantage this figure increases, with up to 50% of children starting school speech and language skills that are significantly less developed than those of other children of the same age.
SLCN is a broad term often used in education or speech and language therapy to refer to anyone who is having difficulty with these skills. Communication is a complex process, and when children have difficulties with this it can profoundly limit their potential in many different ways.
In some areas of the Uk, 50% of children start school with communication difficulties
1 in 10 children have a speech, language and communication need
In some areas of the UK, up to 75% of pupils may have limited language
"The wide ranging evidence on the impact of Speech Bubbles contains several clear commonalities. Improvements, sometimes striking improvements, in confidence, listening, participation, social skills, behaviour, enjoyment and relationships with others.”
Dr Johnothon Barnes
(Sidney de Haan Arts and Health Research Centre)
What impact does Speech Bubbles have for children with SLCN?
Through its careful and creative use of story, play and drama, Speech Bubbles has shown to have considerable impact on participating children's speaking, listening and attention skills whilst also improving their social skills and emotional literacy. The story drama approach places the child at the centre of the activity, and they become at different times, author, performer and audience. The project also enhances the skills of school staff who work alongside a drama practitioner to run the sessions.
In 2018/19, North West Drama's Speech bubbles schools reported that 87% of participating children improved in speaking, listening and learning and 92% of participating children improved in emotion conduct and behaviour.
Nationally, the most recent evaluation data revealed that 85% of children participating in Speech Bubbles showed an improvement in speaking, listening and learning and 86% showed improvement in emotional conduct and behaviour. Read more research into the effectiveness of Speech Bubbles here.
For more information about supporting children’s communication development you might want to visit the Talking Point Website.