Jina on tour
Inspired by her ‘STEM Sisters’ Jina learns that she can follow her dreams of being a scientist.
Published: 20 April 2022
With support from The Ogden Trust, award-winning education charity HDMT Music has launched its national tour of Jina and the STEM Sisters to inspire new generations to pursue an education and career in STEM, in particular physics. The tour has already reached audiences of 2,500 children from 40 schools.
The multi-media musical puppet show is based on the discoveries and stories of historical STEM women who fought against the odds to pursue their flair for scientific enquiry but were often unacknowledged for their discoveries and frequently encountered discrimination and prejudice along the way.
Jina and the STEM Sisters features rap, Motown, jazz, opera and musical theatre, and is created and performed by an all-female team. The production tells the story of budding scientist Jina who is empowered by women such as digital-coder Ada Lovelace, glamorous inventor Hedy Lamarr, ‘radiating’ Marie Curie, pioneering astronaut Mae Jemison and astronomers Hypatia, Caroline Herschel and Wang Zhenyi.
These inspirational STEM women share their own life-experiences and empower Jina with the scientific gifts of curiosity, courage, creativity, persistence and open-mindedness, to help her find her way and follow her dreams to become a scientist!
“It was great for the girls in the audience to realise that they are entitled to equal recognition and standing in science… there were a lot of interesting questions that rose out of the production.”
Eyke Primary, Suffolk
The show is supported by workshops (Exploring the world of fossils with Mary Anning and X-raying materials with crystallographers Rosalind Franklin, Kathleen Lonsdale and Dorothy Hodgkin) alongside a bank of resources and lesson plans linking every featured woman to the upper KS2 curriculum.
The show has already been to Milfields Theatre (Enfield, London), Mitchell Arts Centre (Stoke on Trent) and Snape Maltings (Suffolk) and it has reached audiences of 2,500 children from 40 schools. This week it opens at Little Angel Theatre, Islington in London.
“The children were mesmerised by the whole performance, their faces were a picture! When we arrived back to school one of the children said, ‘I think I am like Jina, I like asking questions and now I know I can keep asking more!'”
St Peter’s Catholic Academy, Stoke
“I’ve learnt more about some individual contributions to the STEM fields. What I’ve really taken away is how men have always been quite comfortable taking the credit for the amazing work women have done.”
Starks Field Primary, Enfield
Participating schools in Stoke, recruited through partner Science Across the City, saw the project’s impact on students’ attainment, interest in and enjoyment of learning. Feedback indicated that it raised the profile of gender equality, offered increased awareness of female inspirational scientists, was relevant to curriculum links, increased consideration of attributes of scientists, challenged stereotypes, raised cultural and science capital, and inspired families to talk about science.
What did the student’s say?
“I liked learning about the mathematician and how their work has allowed us to have computers today.”
“I thought the appearance of Marie Curie was cool and it helped me learn more about her work.”
“Women can achieve anything they set their minds to.”
Photos by: © CLIVE BARDA/ArenaPAL