I am thrilled and proud of at the success of our final ‘Tortoise and Hare’ workshop performed at Lansbury Primary School in East London to both if thier year 2 classes on behalf of Half Moon Theatre Company and UEL. By starting the day with a positive, energetic warm up that consisted of us moving around the space however we liked, including dancing, running, walking and stretching was a great way to set the positive energy in the room and get us all in a good, ready to work mood. This removed all the nerves and apprahentions we may of had and created a safe, postivie environment for the children to enter in. This positive energy stayed with us throughout the day, allowing us to deliver a successful, fun workshop for the children. There were many key moments and techniques that worked well and complimented our delivery such as strong clear roles and clear intentions.
With allowing the children to be in role and physically assist the characters and solve the problems that arised together enabled them to be fully focused in the workshop as well as giving them the opportunity to reflect on their own personal situations and feelings. Giving the children the opportunity to be able to always communicate with the character, which was us in role, allowed them to stay focused and in role themselves. It also allowed them to create small interactions and relationships as another way to maintain a safe, open environment for them to feel as if they can share their ideas and opinions freely. For example, when we gave the children the opportunity to encourage the Tortoise in the race, they were all very eager to say kind words and phrases such as “don’t give up” or “you can do it”. As they shared their ideas, without instruction, they came and stood behind the Tortoises and helped pushed them forward as a sign of encouragement. This proved that they felt open enough to share their own thoughts as well as act on them too.
Another key moment in the workshop that highlighted it was successful was when we came to the end and asked the children “what would you take from this workshop?” the answers they gave were very clear and concise. Many of them said how bullying is wrong and friendship is very important, especially at school when learning and growing. Some of the children explained that when they saw the Hare teasing the Tortoise and joined in proved how easily it can be to be mean and we must make more of a conscious decision to make sure “no-one is teased or left out”. This highlighted just how smart and wise this age group can be when approached and spoke too in an appropriate manner. Even though these children are between the ages 6-7, they behaved in a mature, sensible manner proving that if you – as a facilitator – treat them and speak to them like adults they will act like adults.
From completing this workshop and it being so successful allowed me to learn how to speak to young children in a way that is not at all patronising but sets a tone of authority. Showing the children that we still have the authority but are all communicating on the same level and they have the freedom to speak and contribute whenever they feel comfortable and safe to do so. I found this day very enjoyable and loved making a positive impact on these children’s way of thinking about how they treat themselves and others.
However, if I was to do this workshop again I would make sure the children have more of a dominant clear role that allows them to make more clear concise decisions. This should then give them more of an opportunity to reflect on themselves and speak a little more openly about certain issues as I feel this is not done enough within the education system today.
Finally, this term has been a very practical, enjoyable term that has allowed me to put everything I learned and explored together in Term A and B to create a positive, successful workshop. From exploring different strands of Applied Theatre in Term A and then using a variety of techniques and aspects from these sources and more to create a workshop that has helped a group of children and can be adapted and changed to fit into a variety of social settings. I am excited to begin to look into careers in this field and use applied theatre to create a positive impact in the society we live in.