Students Re-tell Powerful ‘Ten Pound Pom’ Story

A group of Year 13 Newton Abbot College Performing Arts students have thrown a powerful spotlight on the plight of families of the ‘Ten Pound Pom’ scheme after the end of the Second World War. 

Megan Selley and Emma McCarthy

Megan Selley and Emma McCarthy

As part of their ‘Storytelling as Performance’ module for their final examination, students Melis Blackford, Lucy Cullum, Brittany Howard, Emma McCarthy and Megan Selley told their story, entitled ‘Australia’s Invisible Migrants’; following the journey of a ‘Ten Pound Pom’ family, who migrated to Australia as part of the government’s Assisted Passage Migration Scheme initiated in 1945. The moving and, at times, hard-hitting performance, showcased on 20 March in the College’s Daphne Collman Auditorium,  followed the different individual experiences of each family member, highlighting both the positive and negative experiences of those involved. The students’ incredible original piece was cleverly interspersed with real life tales of ‘Ten Pound Poms’ and their hopes, dreams and experiences.

The story follows a family moving to Australia

The story follows a family moving to Australia

It was a process that student, Megan Selley, found extremely inspirational: “We really have been through such a journey devising and creating this piece; we have learned a huge amount about using storytelling to portray a real-life event. To our knowledge, this particular snapshot of British cultural history hasn’t been addressed before, so it was a real privilege to try and represent it effectively on stage. We have been extremely fortunate that the Performing Arts department at Newton Abbot College have given us full creative reign to take the piece, and the audience’s emotions, exactly where we wanted.”



Teacher of Performing Arts, Sarah Wilkinson, was extremely proud of the performance: “The amazing work shown by these students just highlights what can be achieved with passion and a drive to succeed. We could not have been more thrilled as a department and as a College for such an inspiring and thought-provoking piece and we will be watching their careers beyond College life with anticipation of great things.”

We really have been through such a journey devising and creating this piece; we have learned a huge amount about using storytelling to portray a real-life event. To our knowledge, this particular snapshot of British cultural history hasn’t been addressed before, so it was a real privilege to try and represent it effectively on stage.

Year 13 Performing Arts student, Megan Selley
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