Been delivering a fair amount of workshops this term, as well as being busy running new promotion Rea River Soul, last venture was a success, lots of great feedback – woop! The promotion game is a tiring one when you’re work full time, most of us do and I shan’t complain! Continue reading “Workshopped Out”
Today was the third session at Paganel school, the pressure was on to move the sketches/ short vignettes into something more meaningful and framed. After a quick warmer and explaining to the groups the skills we needed from them to take this forward (concentration, imagination, sharing of ideas and an openness to them), we shared again the sketches and asked young people from both groups how they’d piece them together, fusing the drama and music. We had some fantastic suggestions, year 3 in the morning had bundles of ideas, year 4 shared some amazing ideas too!
I found a lonely looking metallophone in the store room, tuned it to a minor scale so we could create dream like sounds. Has a really sonorous sound, really mellow, perfect for our opening scene.
Both year 3 and 4 teachers said they enjoyed the sessions, Ms. Wilson said she liked seeing how we made headways and I sense more comfortable about what the performance will look like. I tried loads to get Mr. Harwood leading the musicians, but due to time limitations and the complexity of the kids ideas, had to take over leading. I am really keen to play piano as well as getting the young people playing, but the need a strong pulse, maybe with the addition of musicians on Thursday it will allow for this. Highlight was writing a chorus and verse in 15 mins, it went well, Chris has displayed some excellent lyric writing skills. (A published poet didn’t you know?).
In terms of working in partnership with Chris, I feel it’s going really well, both have similar tricks up the sleeve and give one another space to lead, as well as opportunities to jump in with suggestions.
Chris and I returned to Paganel School to facilitate the second round of music and drama sessions. After today we have 2 sessions left to have material devised and rehearsed! The aim was to have local members of the community come in and be interviewed about their relationship with Weoley Castle and home. We got young people to devise questions about ‘home and identity’ and then to interview our guests.We had two dinner ‘people’ and students who arrived to the school at a later period be our interviewees. The young people asked some very interesting questions, moving from the geographical/’what can you see?’ questions, to more abstract; feelings about home.
The sessions were both successful, we were limited again in time as we had two assemblies that took off half an hour of time, but we got the backbone of devising drama and music performances; we always share at the end. I really enjoyed facilitating the dog song sketch; written in just 10 mins inspired by a tale of being unfortunate with pets (Chris and I became interviewees in the afternoon, I spoke about accidentally killing goldfish as a child, rottweilers etc). Props to Mr Harwood for the conducting and counting in! It’s great to see our year 4 teacher is gaining more confidence in leading, it would be great to work with staff and develop their ensemble leading, I think they are naturals!!
Today was the first of our “home week” sessions at Paganel school, and it was the first time I worked with Chris Bishop from BXL, who is a drama practitioner. This morning we worked with year 3, a lovely bunch of young people, with great ideas. We started with some icebreakers, bonding exercises, trying to learn names, although both Chris and I have confessed we are awful at this so name badges next week are a must!
As part of a reflection for the project we have to blog about our experiences, I normally reflect during certain milestones of a project,; (beginning, middle, end) so this process is new, but should be fine.
In retrospect, both Chris and I felt the session went well, we were able to create a buzz about the ‘home’ themed project, demonstrating the theme by bringing in realia; my items from home were; a Sainsbury’s shopping bag, photo of my family, and headphones. It was cool to get the young people guessing their significance, especially the shopping bag. We were concerned about the year 3s ability to think in more abstract terms about what ‘home’ signified, but some were able to do this, rather than just getting geographical and literal interpretations, some delved into the emotional side, and some the plain weird; dinosaurs!?! Chris brought in some of his late grandfather’s war medals which was really great for the participants to see, they had lots of curious questions.
We had limited time to get young people making drama and music performances, but in ten mins our 2 groups shared a performance based on their ideas of what home was. My group, explored the sounds of sisters, which included moaning, and chatting, fused with body percussion. I was impressed at how readily my group were to share their work and the feedback both groups gave was good; (initially one word answers), but I reckon once they get used to the process, we’ll get more specifics in their answers.
Chris’ group did freeze frames based on a story one of the young people shared about a dog that nearly got run over.
I think it was a successful start, the theme of the project and aims are known, although we had less time to work on devising performance work/ideas, we were able to produce something.
Year 4s session went really well too! Great answers, energy and was impressed with form tutor Dave leading the musical performance with some excellent conducting skills. He rose to the challenge, although nervous. Feedback was good, looking forward to next week!