Archive for March, 2009

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More Art Atelier Images

March 30, 2009
colour atelier

colour atelier

construction atelier

construction atelier

sound atelier

sound atelier

For Natasha more images of the atelier spaces and resources. Rachelx

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Bringing Theatre to the Early Years in Schools

March 30, 2009

Hi dandelions,

Heres an interesting link for your information I came across,

Best

Rachelx

http://www.teachingexpertise.com/articles/bringing-theatre-to-the-early-years-1430

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Bridges 1

March 29, 2009

london-bridgeI thought I would kick off the ‘bridges’ theme for the theatre collaboration with the nursery rhyme ‘london bridge is falling down’, as this was mentioned in the meeting with La Baracca and Toihaus.  I hope to explore this theme further with my early years groups of 3-4year olds in Lancaster, over the next few weeks. Will keep you posted, rachelx

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Visit to the ART Atelier – Friday, last day.

March 23, 2009

atelier-1

Construction atelier

Construction atelier

Whilst I still have to write up my many notes from the Assitej conference, I thought I would give an overview regarding the Art Atelier we visited. Lizzie has expertly written and covered many areas I feel i would be repeating, so i will endeavour to finish with this account of the wonderful atelier spaces.atelier

The Atelier is open for 1-6 year olds and is all about exploring and experiencing the five senses. Each workshop for 10 children has a practical aspect to art, and is there to give an experience they may not have at school or home. The sessions give educators the chance to observe children in different ways, essential to their future learning and training. There are some games and rules but then the children choose what to do.Through a presentation we were shown how the children explore colour at different meetings – shining red in the dark, blue colours of water, yellow action painting, colourful projections on to the body. The children are always exploring the relationship with the colour and the physical. Linking to emotional states and feelings. Every child reacts differently, so individual choice and time is respected. Then the sessions move onto art – how do children see and understand art? They work with different styles and techniques. Within the construction workshop, the child collects a little basket and chooses their own materials. they take objects and reinvent their form and use, sharing their methods of joining and exploring with the group. Within the sound workshop designed by La Barracca, the whole visual tactile aesthetic of the theatre is there to be explored. Again over a series of sessions, silence & the air is explored with feathers, whisphers and listening. Then the sounds of water, poured onto plastic sheeting overhead, continuingatelier-6atelier-10with natural& found objects to make noises starting loud in workshops and then gradually quietening down to hear the inner sounds – heartbeat with stethescopes. The educators always work with the children by encouraging them to listen, then repeat and then change. It was a fascinating afternoon and a great hands on explore, before sadly saying goodbye to the festival. From Rachelx

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Blogging

March 23, 2009

Just wanted to say a big thank you to all of you for keeping the blogging going and sharing with us your reflections, thoughts and photos from both festivals. Despite being at the festival in Bologna I have learnt a lot from Lizzie and Rachel both about the experiences they had on the A Possible Theatre workshop and the shows that we saw together. Lizzie, you have given a whole new meaning to word ‘nido’ that I had never stopped to even consider before! And also thanks to Natasha for your insights and comments on the more recent blogs. Well done everbody.

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Lizzie’s Bologna Blog Finale Part 2

March 23, 2009

I want to finish off my Bologna blog with talking about my last morning when I, together with Rachel, visited a nido (0 to 3) creche to see the programme Theatre Scribbles in action. I mentioned this in my second blog when Roberto of La Baracca explained the thinking and principles behind Theatre Scribbles. It was lovely to experience the reality.
Here is what happened. We met with two delightful women (sorry, didn’t note their names) who have been working with these techniques for years. They both work at different creches from the one that we were visiting so they were coming into this nursery from outside over a period of 6 weeks (twice a week I think) to work with the same groups of children. (Roberto had made a point earlier on in the week that not all teachers want to do this type of work. You have to find the teachers who are happy to explore this aspect of physical expression.) The children (2/3 year olds) took their shoes off outside the room (if they wanted to – one boy didn’t) and were led into a smallish quite bare room. There were about 6 children – one helper who sat on the side with the children and the two teachers. The teachers were wearing loose T-shirts and leggings. They begun to tell a simple story – perhaps not so much a story as language that talked about trees and the wind and the sun and the sea and fishes (these are the elements I picked up with my lack of language).  Music played in the background and the women moved their hands, their legs, their bodies with a simple language of  gesture – gradually the children, if they wanted, joined in, sometimes copying a move or physically interacting with the teachers or rolling on the floor with them. It was gentle and playful. The children also contributed vocally. They were free to do what they wanted but there were ‘rules’ – at one point 2 or 3 children decided to chase around the room and they were gently told to refrain – and the curtains on the windows were a great draw with the children having to be extracted several times from behind them. But generally the children did focus on the actions of the teachers and it was lovely to see how they were drawn in. The whole experience lasted only maybe 10 or 15 minutes. At the end the children and teachers joined hands in a circle and they played a simple name/ response game.
It’s not rocket science! As I observed the session I thought that the sad thing was that this work was seen as something unusual or groundbreaking. Working with children in this way seems to me to be the most natural thing in the world but I realise that many adults are ill at ease with working with children in a way that makes them, the adults, feel exposed. Thus this expressive work rarely takes place.  Maybe we need to make a distinction between expressive and creative. With creativity we explore something with our hands and our minds and our imagination but, to express it, we need the means to externalise the internal, to go from the inside out and I have a feeling that this is what this work is trying to do – to give children a feeling of ease with themselves so that they can express themselves. The term ‘the expressive arts’ is not new but perhaps one that we should be coining in relation to work with the very youngest. In fact I am wondering if early years workers would find the word easier to embrace. You so often hear people saying – oh, I’m not creative (meaning I can’t draw or play a musical instrument or write a story etc) but being expressive, whilst personal, might be an easier concept to accept. I don’t know. It’s just a thought….
Anyway I really enjoyed my morning in the creche and it brought to the end a fantastically stimulating and exhausting week in Bologna.

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Lizzie’s Bologna Blog Finale Part 1

March 23, 2009

Think this may be my last Bologna blog (in two parts) so a bit of a mish mash of things that I don’t want to forget to say.

Firstly I want to mention that it was great to have a chance towards the end of the week to meet with Helga and Myrto from Toihaus and Valeria from La Baracca. I look forward to meeting them again later on in the course of this Dandelion project.

Another note in my book from the Assitej Forum.
Charlotte Fallon, wonderful director of Theatre de la Guimbarde always has something interesting to say – although I always long to know what she is really saying as she definitely suffers in translation (her own translation!) Anyway this is what I think she was saying. The artist needs to express a strong desire. Your need to be doing what you do, a sense of necessity, draws the child in. You need structure and you need some strength. You must find the spine of the show. Everything mustn’t be soft. This enervates you and leaves you feeling tired. And there is a need for silence. Too much sound. Discover what can happen in the silence.

Then I watched a crazy show that was anything but silent. A one man extravagant, over the top, fun interpretation of the Just So story -The Elephant’s Child- told entirely with tights and socks for children aged 3 to 6. It was highly verbal and raucous and the children loved every minute of it – and it reminds one that there are many ways of taking children on a journey of the imagination. This was a world far away from feathers and sand and natural elements. In many ways it was good old fashioned storytelling that had a witty visual interpretation. I am sure some people will have not found it to their taste because it was quite frenzied at times and the performance style left me a little breathless but I admired the panache and bravado.

My two favourite shows at the festival were both produced by la Baracca. The first was I colori dell’acqua (the colours of water) – a gorgeous show inspired by the spectrum of light – and the second was a new piece E Poi…Cadano – And Then…They Fall… which is exuberant, poetic and playful. The former had a very tasteful aesthetic, gentle humour and utter charm. The latter used a world of cushions, building blocks, hoops, streamers, bubbles and that may make it sound rather ‘obvious’ but it was a total delight owing to the highly skilled and hilarious antics of the two performers which I can only describe as poetic clowning. It seems to me that both these productions understood the breathing and watching rhythm of a young audience. And they were both long enough to be satisfying and short enough to hold attention (I think around 35 mins – the target age for each was 1 – 3). At the end of I colori dell’acqua  the children were invited on to the stage area to play with the coloured water and the various objects that had come into the show – oranges, tomatoes, feathers, petals, lettuce, grain and cloth. The children were utterly absorbed in this activity – very joyously and messily. It’s not a 100% free for all. A child was stopped from eating the squashed tomatoes!
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