Working with theatre maker Dominic Biddle
Into the Somewhere started out as the Sumfing research project investigating innovative ways to bring together performance and visual art. It also looked to make an art encounter relevant to the thoughts and concerns of primary school children.
Six months later the Somewhere Place has starting appearing in schools around the region. As researchers we always have a limited time to enter and explore this place and we enlist the help of a team of research assistants from the school.
The children think about and experiment with the skills and tools they might need in an unknown place and how they might approach anything that might be living there.
The skills of the artist and scientist coincide in this cross curricular experience. We practice deep looking using all our senses, we ask questions, we make connections, propose theories, start to make meaning and create a new story. Most importantly, we stay curious.
This encounter considers how we approach the unknown and how not knowing the answers can sometimes lead to creative acts. Perhaps it touches on how we live in uncertain times but equally it asks how we can think like artists.
Into the Somewhere is currently available as a half day in school experience for Years 3, 4, 5 and 6. We are also developing the project for other situations so get in touch if you’re interested in the idea.
With theatre maker Dominic Biddle, R & D project commissioned by Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds for Once Upon a Festival
Sumfing won’t get up
Theatre maker Dominic Biddle and visual artists, Jacquie Campbell and Heidi McEvoy-Swift, are collaborating with children’s imaginations to create a theatre piece that speaks directly from the child.
We have designed and built a portable immersive space that children are invited into, to discover Sumfing. Sumfing is inside a big box that will not open.
Over the course of 50 minutes, the children discover and express what Sumfing might be, using word, sound, and making. Together we uncover Sumfing, personify Sumfing and empower Sumfing: A large-scale puppet. Finally, they send Sumfing on its way, through the door, altered by their responses, into the world.
Through this process the children will help us create a piece of theatre for Bury St Edmunds’ Once Upon a Festival.
Rojo Carnival: Character building
Family Day at Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds
How to take part
Turn up at the theatre anytime between 11am and 3pm and make your way to the Greene Room. We’ll be there to meet you.
Step One: Delve into our Lucky Dip to find ideas for your carnival character.
Step Two: Make your character mask with the help of our costume artists.
Step Three: Get into character, put on your mask and leave your autograph and unique hand drawing on the wall of fame. Don’t forget to pose for the paparazzi as you head towards the stage door.
Step Four: Make your way onto the theatre stage. Our dresser will help you find a costume to complete your look.
Step Five: You will be greeted by our carnival animateur who will help you develop your character’s own dance move. While you’re on stage, look for the appearance of your giant masked photo on the backdrop.
Then suddenly it’s carnival time! House lights dim; stage lights on; cue music, dancing and a carnival procession around the theatre.
Carnival processions will take place at 12, 1, 2 and 3pm. Arrive earlier to get ready.
We came away from this morning’s workshop at the theatre really inspired by the way the children had responded to an integrated art and storytelling approach.
Lynn started the session by telling a story with magical woodland elements which inspired the visual artists to seek out woodland characters in some gnarled and twisted pieces of tree bark. These characters and their stories were developed with a visual language using natural material collage.
I was intrigued by the stories the children told around their artwork. One of them even incorporated the wet glue left on the surface into her story as food for the creature that lives behind the tree.
I now need to dedicate this afternoon to thinking of ways we can develop this cross artform approach further.
Art and story-Found Faces woodland workshop at Theatre Royal BSE
Art and Story-Found Faces woodland workshop-Theatre Royal BSE
Drama Extravaganza this summer is all about the Aztecs and we started the week with a full day of art activities.
The children talked about the reasons why the Aztecs made art and decorative objects and how they used human and natural forms as symbols to represent ideas about religion and war.
We then spent a while looking at Aztec motifs practising the drawing style and allowing the children to try out symbols of their own.
These were used as the centre piece of some impressive Aztec shields. For decoration we thought about the Aztec craft of feather work and looked at images of Montezuma II’s headdress made from the feathers of more than 250 Quetzal birds. The children learnt their own craft of paper feather making and added these to their shields.