A LEARNING EXPERIENCE LIKE NO OTHER
Our program is led in a supportive and empowering environment. Games and exercises help to build trust, foster creativity and give structure to the ideas presented by the children. All of this is within a culture following the principles of The Virtues Project (see www.virtuesproject.com). Children are introduced to key Virtues, essential for seeing a piece of theatre created. These include Trust, Tolerance, Appreciation, Consideration and Kindness and they are explored and referred to throughout all of the workshop’s activities. We have found this method provides a positive and caring space for children to work within, whilst heightening the awareness of the messages in their final piece of theatre.
Through games and fun exercises, friendships are quickly developed together with a healthy team dynamic. The final piece of theatre will be an ensemble piece with no one child being ‘the star’. The way in which the performance is created includes all the children’s input to ensure that they all feel part of what is presented at the end of the week.
There is an emphasis placed on responsibility which comes through when the children design costumes and scenery, when they are encouraged in using the Virtues as a guide to positive interactions, and when they take part in the clearing up at the end of each day.
The performance piece is created through various drama exercises and activities and so devised with an emphasis on the oral and the kinaesthetic. Our method ensures that the children become fully engaged in the story of the play and understand its characters. Then they have the knowledge to devise scenes for any part of the play, knowing who is involved and where it comes in the story. Key lines from the original play are woven into this to ensure a connection with the original script. However, there is very little need for reading or writing in our programme, which keeps that our exploration of Shakespeare fully inclusive. Of course, children who like to write are encouraged to make notes, but only if they wish. Others will remember their lines based on interactions and others will draw simple pictures as reminders. The memory aids that the children use will be as diverse as the children themselves.
There will be a supply of various art and scrap materials for the children to make use of. We will use the children’s own costume designs and ideas for props and scenery. We then support them in making the items they will need for the final performance. Many children naturally enjoying making items to dress up in, but now they have the adult’s expertise to help them take these ideas further. This is always an exciting process for all involved, resulting in a creative and often astounding collection of props, costumes and scenery.