The Yarico Education Programme

The educational programme is available either in full or part at your school/organisation and includes:

– A professional performance presentation
– Interactive workshops
– High quality educational resources
– Brand new mask sets

The Yarico Education Programme, positions itself between the facts of history and the musical’s fictional characters in order to honour the past and provide practical exploration and a resources to support:

• Students (KS3, 4, AS/A Level, BTEC, PGCE and Trainee Teachers)
• Teachers of KS3/4 PSHEE (Non-Statutory)
• Teachers of Religious Education/Studies (KS3)
• Teachers of History (KS3)
• Teachers of English (KS3)
• Teachers of Citizenship (GCSE)
• Teachers of Drama and Performing Arts/ Performance Studies (GCSE, AS/A2 and BTEC)
• Arts Educationalists, Teaching Artists and Facilitators

The fact that Yarico derives from true historical events makes it all the more important for us to consider the lessons provided in the text to help us better understand ourselves and others. Over the years, Yarico’s story has been moulded into a powerful and epic musical, providing us with characters that challenge our perspectives, and demonstrate perceptions from a story of great historical significance that has languished in time.

Programme Detail

Performance Presentation

This performance brings together the best of musical theatre and educational theatre to create a unique telling of Yarico’s story. Using song, physical storytelling, multi rolling, half mask and direct address, two performers tell how Yarico was sold into slavery and how her struggle can be an inspiration for the anti-slavery movements of today. The audience are introduced to characters from Yarico’s world, such as Ligon, the man who wrote about her in his study of Barbados, Jessica, a slave brought over from Africa to work on a plantation, Thomas Inkle, the man that Yarico saved who then sold her and Nono, Yarico’s best friend from the Amerindian tribe of her origin.

The performance lasts for half an hour and aims to spark discussions; questions following the show include exploring why Thomas sold Yarico into slavery, whether Yarico made a good choice leaving the routine of home life to follow the excitement of travel and how people end up enslaved in the world today.

The performance can be enjoyed by a whole year group, with a discussion to follow around the issues in the piece; however we would recommend participation in a workshop to allow the audience to experience as well as discuss the issues through drama.

The Performers are professional musical/physical theatre actors who have performed in musicals, plays and mask shows and have a commitment to bringing the best theatre in education performances to schools and theatres. They are also highly skilled facilitators and workshop leaders who enjoy using drama techniques and games to engage with participants.

Q&A: Questions following the show include exploring:

Devising process

  • including making theatre from historical stimuli
  • Characterisation
  • Mask theatre
  • Applied Drama –Theatre in Education

Theories and Practitioners

  • Key theoreticians and practitioners inspiring the work


  • spiritual, moral, social and cultural links
  • Questions raised by the plot, including issues surrounding gender, love/betrayal and social oppression.

Interactive Workshop

The workshop is designed to follow the performance and engage participants in:

  • the physical portrayal of characters in the story
  • using half masks to explore the worlds of the slaves, the tribal Amerindians, the colonial slave owners
  • text, including lyrics, for participants to interpret
  • lead discussion on the material and dilemmas that the characters face
  • provocation to support participants’ enquiry into contemporary slavery and modern day exploitation of people

Trestle workshop leaders use a range of techniques, such as playful warm up exercises, exploration through mask, hot seating characters to investigate perspectives and choices, improvising with text to bring the material to life and generating a range of responses, which can then be discussed. The Trestle masks are an accessible and useful tool with which to represent and question racial diversity and the hierarchies and interactions which are a fundamental element of this project.

Workshops can be delivered independently of the Performance and include a masked telling of the Yarico story by the workshop leader, which participants can then respond to by interacting with the character of Yarico.

Educational Resources

The resource pack includes a 50 page document with character stories, historical information and contemporary contextualising. Additionally there are subject specific appendices with lesson plans including:

  • Drama and Performing Arts
  • English
  • History
  • RS
  • Citizenship
  • PSHE

The pack focuses on four of the main characters in the Yarico story: Yarico herself, Thomas Inkle the man who sells her, Bartholomew a slave from West Africa and Cicero, the friend of Inkle who becomes an abolitionist.

Each character faces challenges and overcomes both personal and social adversities. The pack invites you to follow their stories, learn about the wider social, historical and cultural context and use the educational schemes provided to inspire you to forge a journey through the pages to support and enhance your educational needs.

The material has been created in line with the National Curriculum and exam board guidance, but also through consultation with teachers, artists and students. Guidance offered by associations, such as the PSHE Association and the Association for Citizenship Teaching has also made it possible to ensure that the Yarico education pack is a good fit for our intended audiences.

Mask Sets

Trestle has created new masks which reflect the racial diversity of the Yarico characters. Both half and full masks are available in skin tones which reflect Yarico’s tribal heritage, the African slaves and the white colonial characters. Participants are encouraged to wear the masks which represent the characters rather than matching their own skin colour.

Masks are a useful tool for enabling participants to explore a range of characters and situations freed from the constraints of ‘acting’ in a conventional sense of using facial expressions and words. The masks encourage students to use their physicality rather than words to explore hierarchies and interactions between characters. The half masks can also speak, enabling characters to improvise or use to text to express themselves and their views. With contentious subjects such as racial discrimination and language which is prejudiced in a contemporary context, the masks help to form a distinction between character and actor, which liberates a performer to explore different viewpoints and linguistics.

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