In today’s sessions we looked at the production and promotional side of our show which involved creating a programme, a show synopsis and devising the workshop to accompany the Theatre In Education show.
Josh was enthusiastic to be on the creative side of making and designing the format for the programme and so he worked on this with one of the technicians to get some assistance using the Photoshop software – to ensure the programme had a professional feel. Although Josh was keen to make a programme for the show he hadn’t really thought about the use and purpose of it, so we talked through this as a group and asked ourselves what the children/teachers would gain from having a programme. We discussed how the programme for Theatre In Education wouldn’t have the same purpose as any other normal program, as the children wouldn’t be old enough to read about each actor or have the interest in where there trained or the context of the show. Therefore if we were insisting on having a programme we needed to plan what it would include and whether it would be aimed at the children or the teachers. We spoke about the possibility of having two separate versions of this, one for the teachers and one adapted for the children, however we figured this would be far too complicated and unnecessary. Instead we talked about ways of making it a resource that is accessible to both; so still including information but wording it in a way the children could understand and also including things like pictures of rehearsals and possibly an activity for them to do. Although we loved the idea of the children having one each to take home as a keepsake, we were reluctant to give these out at the beginning of the show (like one would in traditional theatre) as the children would be likely to fiddle and get distracted by them. So we decided we would give them out to children after the performance and before the workshop. Yet again, this caused a slight problem as the idea of the synopsis being in the programme was to give them a brief outline of what would happen in the story before watching it, but obviously if the programmes are not given out beforehand this wouldn’t serve its purpose. This lead me to come up with the idea of giving the teacher a copy of the synopsis to read the children in class time before the play starts (so they have an idea of the story and characters before the show starts but are not distracted by the paper copy during the performance).
I volunteered to write the synopsis while Josh worked on the design format on Photoshop. I wanted to write it much like a blurb on a children’s book or like story itself to make it as child friendly and interesting as possible, whilst still giving them the information they need. I started by thinking about the key things they need to know before the show starts to avoid confusion. The things I came up with were:
- The idea of shape town only having 2D shapes and not knowing about 3D shapes
- That every family has its own special shape
- That the Shape collector is taking peoples shapes so he can try and make 3D ones and be the most powerful in all of shapetown
- That Sherlock Bones is a talking Dog
Although these things may seem very obvious, it is important that the children get an idea of what Shape Town is like and what imaginary world they are entering so they will be more likely to accept this and not question the abnormalities of it. By doing this the children will hopefully be able to follow the story better and absorb the information we are trying to teach them. After finishing writing my synopsis draft I made sure I checked for any grammatical or spelling errors and also got Lynn to check through my writing to make sure it read well and was suitable for the age group. I thought it was important to make sure everything was perfect from a literacy point of view, especially when touring primary schools, so not to contradict what they are being taught.
Once this was completed and had the approval of the rest of the company I offered to go and write up my ideas for the post show workshop as I had several ideas already. Although I would have quite liked to have the input of the other members of the team, I was quite happy working on these ideas on my own and I understood they were figuring out their costumes ready for Monday so we can take photos for the wanted posters and programme. Nevertheless, I did end up using ideas that we had briefly spoken about in past rehearsals and modified these slightly into a more structured activity.
Here are is my workshop activities plan so far:
‘MAKE ME SOME SHAPES’ – WARMUP
(A variation on the clap, jump, stop game)
- To warm the children up we start by running round the space. Verbally mark out the space so they know the boundaries.
- As they are moving about the space we will introduce instructions for various actions.
- For example:
- When we say clap they must stop and clap.
- When we say jump they must jump.
- When we say ‘here boy’ the children must crouch down and pant like a dog.
- When we call out a number they must get into groups with that many people. So if we called out ‘3’ the children must get into groups of three.
- As they start getting better at this we will introduce the idea of creating shapes in their groups. For example: in groups of three make a triangle shape together (one person as each side).
‘THE SHAPE COLLECTORS SHAPE RACE’
- Split the children into three teams
- The aim of the game is to be the first team to make the 3D shape that’s decided at the beginning of the round out of the 2D shape resources available.
- For example if the shape called was a cube then the team would have to use 6 of the 2D squares. If it was a cylinder then they would use 2 circles and a rectangle. The kids should work together to hold these together.
- The team that completes this first must shout out ‘Sherlock Bones!!!’ then as a group explain what shapes they used to make it and what properties it has.
- If they get it all right they get a ‘dog biscuit’ token to represent the points.
- Repeat this several times and introduce a different shape on each round.
- The team with the most points/dog biscuits at the end wins!