TAKE a classic book which is almost 80 years old and mix it with contemporary hip hop. What do you get?

The answer – as can find out at Warrington Museum – is 'Lit Hop'.

In a unique project, students from New Horizons School have reinterpreted John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men as a music video.

Ten pupils spent eight weeks transforming the themes of the novel into a rap as part of an initiative to help them engage more with literature.

The results can be seen at the Lit Hop exhibition which is at Warrington Museum until June 18.

Derek Dick, engagement manager at Culture Warrington, worked with Score Creative Education and Accent Music Education Hub on the project as part of the 'Making Music Visual'.

They worked with New Horizons, a pupil referral unit for young people with emotional, social and behavioural difficulties.

Derek said: "We wanted to find a way to introduce literacy to various people, especially boys who struggle with reading.

"It’s not seen as a cool thing to do. They don’t really get excited by it.

"We thought a way we could do this was through music. The idea was to work with a group of boys who were interested in learning the story and converting it into a modern English and then converting it again into hip hop."

The performers were New Horizons students Declan Cudlip, Bradley Molyneux and Liam Bolland, all aged 16.

Liam said: "We do Of Mice and Men as part of English literature so we thought if we inserted the book into a hip hop form it would make it easier for revision and to remember quotes from the book.

"It helped us a lot with confidence as we were all trying to hide from the camera at the beginning."

The trio performed the rap live during a launch event last week attended by the then mayor, Cllr Geoff Settle.

"I feel overwhelmed. My whole body is shaking," added Declan, after the performance.

Of Mice and Men is about two displaced migrant ranch workers, who move from place to place in California in search of job opportunities during the Great Depression in the United States.

Ben Riley, lead facilitator for Score Creative Education, came up with the concept of turning the story into a rap.

He said: "A friendship element runs through the book and people get shot and there’s people arguing.

"You can kind of relate that to hip hop today and yet the book was written in 1937.

"Nobody would get involved at the start but I was taken aback by the content the students pulled from the book and turned into rhythmically applied poetry – which is rap.

"To create a rap and have it make sense and tell a story at the same time is really difficult.

"They also had to work on the delivery of the rap in terms of keeping beat and timing. They learnt so much and it’s built up their confidence and self-esteem

"It’s been a really cool process. I fall asleep with that song going around in my head now. It’s been an amazing experience for the lads and also the other young people who gave their input."

Liam added: "We fit the whole story into four verses. It’s unbelievable. I never thought we’d be able to do it."

The success of the project could lead to other mash ups with the idea of Shakespeare mixed with different style of music being considered."

Steve Oates, director of Score Creative Education, said: "My job is to find inspirational musicians and put them in contact with fantastic young people and see what comes out.

"I think we’ve had a good result with this. These lads have demonstrated that not only can they read the book but digest it and twist it around and put it in a completely different form."

Karen Thomson, head teacher at New Horizons, added: "It’s been a transformation to use music as a method of energising students to explore an academic subject like English.

"It’s been a bridge to achievement for them and their self-esteem has developed."

- Lit Hop is at Warrington Museum until June 18