Last week, we published a blog from the brilliant Maya who shared her experience at the Company Three Event! This week, Lauren has written us a lovely piece about her time with the Coronavirus Time Capsule and the event we attended!
During a summer term blighted by the effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, Company 3’s Coronavirus Time capsule had been a brilliant way to stay creative, connected and engaged in a time of Separation. As Grow Theatre and the Time Capsule project drew to a close, I was really pleased to be offered a chance to take part in Company Three’s final workshop. Unsure of what to expect, I joined the Zoom meeting and waited to be admitted to the meeting room like every zoom meeting ever. However, this was far more than just another, dull, stilted and detached zoom conversation. I entered a screen coloured with about 100 other young people and their drama leaders and of course members of company three themselves.
The meeting had already started when I arrived and Jamael Westman (star of Hamilton) gave a short speech about the importance of the project and shared some of his reflections on history and current events. He mentioned David Starkey’s media comments, The Black Lives Matter movement, and the Government’s handling of and narrative around the pandemic. I was really interested his focus on who gets to record and be represented by history. Despite it having Time Capsule in the title, I had not really thought about the project’s contribution to understanding the pandemic as a historical event and the idea excited me. We then split into groups with a facilitator. I had great fun sharing a poem I had written about the project and getting to know young people from all around the UK. All from the comfort of my bedroom. It was incredible being able to generate a feeling of like-mindedness in such a short time. Especially when meeting in real life was currently seen by some as dangerous.
Undoubtedly the best bit of the experience was coming back together as one massive group. Some young people then got the opportunity to share their work and it was amazing to part of their experience of sharing work in front of such a big audience. Never have I been in a Zoom session with such good will, vibrancy, energy and kindness. It was overall a joyful, creative experience and a lesson in the power of art and connectivity in times of isolation. – Lauren
Before the Summer holidays, Paige and 4 members of the Senior group were really fortunate to attend a final ‘Thank you and Goodbye’ event from Company Three! Company Three allowed us to explore their Coronavirus Time Capsule for our Summer Term work and the group (and leaders) had the best time making and creating videos to watch back about our time in lockdown!
Maya has written a lovely piece below about her experience of the Time Capsule and the event … watch out for her Hamilton style rap!
In July, I was picked to be one of the youth theatre members to take part in Company 3’s closing of the time capsule. I had loved taking part in their Coronavirus Time Capsule so I was really excited for the workshop. It certainly didn’t disappoint! It was truly epic to see just a small (if you can call nearly 200 people small) fraction of the 215 companies who had taken part. I knew that lots of youth theatres were involved, but I hadn’t understood quite how many until there were 7 pages of 25 faces on my zoom screen! Before the call, we were asked to write a short piece – a song or a poem or a rap or writing all about what the Coronavirus Time Capsule had meant to us. I remembered we had a special guest that would be joining the event … Jamael Westman! Who originated the role of Hamilton on the West End. I saw the prompt ‘rap’ and thought perhaps I could have some fun with this?
It was during the event that we showcased our little 30 second tributes to the time capsule. People were so creative! We had a really nice discussion about the impact of the films we had created, and how the project could continue in different forms. And I performed my Hamilton inspired rap! I thought… cool! That part is over!
We then left our rooms and came back to the main call, unsure what our next task was. We had heard from Jamael already… he gave us a great talk about the power of young people using their voices, especially through theatre, and how we could make change happen. We then got to see some of the work everyone had prepared … there were some gorgeous poems, songs and a piece of writing, and then I heard the words: ‘someone has written a Hamilton rap?’! I was both terrified and giddy as I said it was me. They called Jamael forward to make sure he saw (!) and then I did it! And it was such a good feeling, Jamael was cheering loads at the end, and all the Growtheatre folk were cheering me on in the chat, along with other people.
Thank you Rachel and Paige for putting me in a place where I could experience something like that and not only interact with an inspiration of mine, but to also be a part of such a huge and awesome project and closing ceremony. We ended with the Coronavirus Time Capsule website being officially opened as Jamael Westman played us an acoustic version of History Has Its Eyes On You. What an awesome afternoon!
Growtheatre has been working on An Even Better Arbourthorne during lockdown, and our most latest venture is with Healthier Holidays!
Arbourthorne Community Primary School and the An Even Better Arbourthorne Team are delighted to be a part of the Healthier Holidays Programme which provides food parcels and activities to families in Arbourthorne over the Summer. The Arbourthorne Healthier Holidays has been coordinated by Manor and Castle Development Trust who have supported the wonderful staff from the AEBA Team and School who are also putting on a day of activities each week for families. Our first week was a games week and a lot of fun was had. We are very grateful to the members of staff from the school who have given up some of their Summer holidays to support Healthier Holidays and we hope all the families have lots of fun!
We were also commissioned to make up four Arbourthorne Family Adventures, these are an activity pack that are given out to families with their food hamper. They offer families the opportunity the chance to take part in a new adventure each week and work together to have an adventure! The four adventures included; Pirates, School for Sorcerers, Superheros and Spy Kids!
We have really enjoyed making these packs up knowing that they will provide hours of fun for families to enjoy altogether! Below are a couple of the cool activities included with the packs!
Our Summer Term online has sadly come to an end, but what a fantastic term it has been even though we have been virtual. Taking the sessions online meant that we could not only explore different adventures in our own homes and gardens, but that we could also connect with members a little further than Sheffield and make new friends!
Coming towards the end of the term normally means each group would prepare a sharing for families to come and watch so showcase their talents and learning’s from the previous term. We were really lucky to still be able to create videos and sharing’s for the members to show.
Throughout the weeks, the Junior group have worked brilliantly to ensure each session is full of fun and lots of creative ways to work indoors. No task is ever too big for this group and even though we couldn’t be together, they still managed to create some fantastic scenes using inspiration from the outdoors and by working as a team!
The Intermediates worked each week towards a Summer Sharing in the last week of term. They built their own ‘Magazine Programme’ and each week explored a different aspect of lockdown … whether it be ‘Fashion in Lockdown’ or ‘Narrating your daily life’. The group were brilliant in developing ideas and having a go at trying script work over a screen to create a wonderful final product!
Finally, after 12 wonderful weeks of The Coronavirus Time Capsule, the Seniors sadly wrapped up their final week of making their videos! Every week the videos have been amazing, they have been thought provoking, emotional and really really fun! We were fortunate enough to attend a ‘Final Gathering’ by Company Three which invited Theatre groups from all across the world as a final thank you and goodbye! The whole experience of the Time Capsule has been truly brilliant and each of the Senior members have been wonderful producing and making their videos each week!
It has been a very different term for us here at Growtheatre, but we are extremely proud of each and everyone of the members for how they adapted to their online sessions! We hope everyone has a lovely Summer and we will see you all in the Autumn Term!
Here we have testimonials from Maya and Dillon, just two of our wonderful Seniors that participated in the Coronavirus Time Capsule!
After a few weeks of lockdown, we were missing our youth theatre member so much! We decided to start to investigate how we might meet online and continue to be creative together in lockdown. After many hours of investigating and researching how this might work for us we launched Growtheatre Youth Theatre Online. It has been a real learning journey that our lovely members have got on board with and helped us to slowly surely get right! I look forward to every session so much as they are full of fun, creativity, friendship and some really good chats!
We try and make our sessions as dynamic as possible and get our members working both indoors and outside. Household objects, amazing finds in our gardens and backyards, the whole family’s wardrobes and pets, cuddly toys and plastic fish have made their way into our sessions. I am very grateful to our parents for being so supportive of Growtheatre, whilst their children raid their homes and gardens during sessions!!! And for also sending us so many positive and kind messages.
We have had quite a few children and young people join Growtheatre Youth Theatre Online – everyone has commented that it has been great to be able to make new friends during this time! An unexpected surprise is that geography is not a barrier to joining the Youth Theatre during lockdown and Evie, our amazing volunteer who is a student at the University of Sheffield, has continued to volunteer with us from her family home in Hertfordshire and her 2 younger sisters have joined our Junior and Intermediate groups too!
Enough from me – lets hear from our Youth Theatre members about their sessions.
“I have been making potions, making costumes acting stories and running off to get things out the garden and in the house. I think it is way more better than being on a screen all the time. Plus I get to see my friends more often! The games are really fun. Thank you!” Leo
“I have really enjoyed Growtheatre online. It is really nice to see my peers and meet new people, even if it is just virtually. It is fun trying out new versions of games that can work online. Though I prefer doing Growtheatre in person, it’s really nice to do what I love again as acting is not something that is easy to do at home with a sister or brother. Although not everyone can get outside, it has been really fun finding ways to incorporate things outdoors with acting online. The sessions I loved most were the ones where we had a theme and focused on it for the whole session. For example, I loved the time our theme was about magic and we created potions using outdoor materials, wrote a spell together and performed it in groups for our peers.” Sophia
“Doing drama online is fun but at the same time is a bit strange. I have enjoyed meeting new people and playing new games, I especially enjoy Mafia, that is super fun. I love all the sessions and everyone is so different and full of great ideas. Also, I like how every week when we do different challenges, there is a different theme. Like when we got to go outside and make potions. I don’t live in Sheffield, and have just joined for the online sessions. Everyone has been really kind and positive to me and I really appreciate that.” Isla
“I’m a member of the Senior Group at Growtheatre and because of the coronavirus, we haven’t been able to meet up like we normally would, so this half term we’ve been meeting via zoom. At first this was quite strange and difficult to get used to but since the weeks went on it became clear what wasn’t possible, which would normally be possible in our sessions; but also what we could do and experiment with which would otherwise be impossible. Games and activities have a whole new experience to them now and it’s very fun. I really enjoy being able to see everyone in the Senior Group during the current pandemic, which might not have been possible if it weren’t for the opportunities that meeting online provided.
This half term we’ve been taking part in the Coronavirus time capsule. This is an international project run by Company 3 in London and its aim is to document how young people are living in the current state of the world, being forced to stay home, not being able to see friends, etc. Every week we made a short film with everyone in the group being involved, each time talking about a different aspect of our new COVID lives. In the session we would discuss the theme that had been set for that week and split into small groups where we talked about what are plans were. We could then make our contributions to the film by ourselves and it would be edited together for us to see the next week. It’s been great fun since it lets everyone’s unique and individual ideas be shared with everyone. It’s always fun seeing each other’s parts of the film when we show it in the weekly meetings with lots of laughs and some very creative approaches to the brief. It’s been a great half term with lots of fun despite everyone being stuck at home!” Dillon
Over the past few weeks, Growtheatre has taken to running our Youth Theatre Sessions online. We have been using a virtual platform to connect with the Youth Theatre members each week and it has been really nice to still be able to get creative inside and outside of our homes.
Both the Juniors and Intermediates have been very impressive with how they have adapted to running the sessions online. Each week is filled with group games, lots of fun and laughter! We have been making pieces of drama about mystical characters, and making costumes out of things you may find in your gardens! It is great to know that the enthusiasm for getting outside and exploring is still alive when we hear stories about daily exercise in the woods and beyond!
The Seniors have taken a slightly different approach to their weekly sessions by joining in with Company Three’s project, Coronavirus Time Capsule. The Time Capsule is an opportunity to capture the lives of teenagers emotions, thoughts and movements through the current crisis. The video’s have really amazed us and have been extremely thought provoking and full of emotions every week.
We are thrilled to have the opportunity to continue with the Youth Theatre every week, it just shows you can have as much fun indoors and in your garden as you can in the woods! We also can’t wait to be back there as well!
“Its the best part of my child’s week”
Parent of Growtheatre Senior Member
“I get to see everyone again”
Intermediate reflecting on what they like about the online sessions.
Modern Christmas Stories, Pirates and Boris Johnson … Oh My!
What a term it has been at Growtheatre! Another fun filled term with three completely brilliant groups. The lead up to Christmas has been particularly busy preparing the two younger groups for their Christmas sharing and working with the Seniors to decide what their next pieces of work will be when we return in the New Year!
This Term our Juniors have been focusing on the theme of Pirates! We had a few super sessions whittling and designing our very own pirate weapons! We had swords, daggers and even a trident! They worked very hard to make them perfect, ready to be used in their Christmas Sharing pieces. We decided that it would be fun to explore what would happen if a pirate was to meet a VIP character … like the queen or even Boris Johnson! Each group created some fantastic ideas and they were very funny! We are very lucky having such a dynamic young group that aren’t afraid of any task put their way!
The Intermediates have had fun exploring the role a narrator plays and just how important they can be! The Intermediate group always bring fun and laughter to each session and are a very friendly group, we knew no task would be too much! Their Christmas pieces explored typical Christmas stories but not as you know them! We had a very modern Mary and Joe meeting Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, Scrooge and The Grinch teaming up to steal Christmas AND a story about a ghostly girl who got locked in her school many many years ago and no one saw her since! We are incredibly proud of the middle group and we are looking forward to seeing what the next term brings!
Politics seems to be a running theme across all three groups, but the Seniors in particular focused on Global Warming as their theme this past term. They are a very thought provoking and considerate group that created such wonderful and sometimes hard hitting pieces about why it is so important to look after our planet earth. No matter what this group is presented with, they never fail to amaze us with their skills and talents!
On behalf of all at Growtheatre, we would like to take the time to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year!
For the past few weeks in the senior group at Grow, we have been taking our ideas on politics and the world around us and using them to create a piece of drama. For example, one week we listened to a song given to us by Rachel all about Global Warming, and in groups we developed a short performance based on the idea of Global Warming and how it affects us right here where we live. We spent 2 weeks developing our ideas and our performances.
After the two weeks we then shared what we had created to the rest of the group. One of the groups focused on how actions that seem small to us, can have a big impact on others and that we need to be aware of where we live and how to look after it. In the performance they showed simple everyday actions that lots of people do that has a negative effect on the environment, E.g. driving to work/school every day or littering. But halfway through the performance they began showing us what we can do to improve the way we go about those actions like, using public transport more and recycling as much as you can.
In a different group, the focus of the piece was the Sheffield floods in 2007. The group devised a piece of movement based physical theatre using the original song that we listened to, to show the ways in which the floods affected families all over, whether that was because of homes being destroyed or even something as tragic as loss of life.
In recent weeks at grow, we have been beginning to think about what we would like to do for our Easter show. We all came together as a group and began to brainstorm ideas for what we will be working up to in coming terms. We wrote down some ideas, themes, different types of productions we would like to work on and even specific roles we may enjoy like directing, set building or lighting. We wrote all of our thoughts down on a big role of paper so that we can come to a decision of what we would like to create!
Here at An Even Better Arbourthorne we have been working really hard on opening the second Community Fridge in Sheffield! We have made some great partnerships including Aldi, Coop, Tesco and Fareshare Yorkshire. We have a brilliant team of volunteers that help run the Community Fridge and as a community, we are combating Food Waste!
We have been fortunate enough to be joined by two brilliant students from University of Sheffield that came to write an article on the Community Fridge and the work we have been doing on the project! Please give it a read here!
We are really grateful they took the time to write such a fantastic piece and are thankful of their hard work. We love running our Community Fridge and we are looking forward to seeing what lies in store next!
This Half Term, the senior group have been working with music and exploring how it can create effect and change the atmosphere of a scene. We developed our understanding on music in performance by practising using games which Paige and Rachel had prepared. For example, for one of the games we were split into three groups then and given three different songs (Park Life, Mission Impossible, Funeral March). From this we we had to take it in turns to go up and create a scene using improvisation and the music we were given. We were advised not to use dialogue and not to plan ahead. This made us focus on the music and the character we were creating. We then had to go up one by one and either add to a previous section or create a new scene. We had to freeze in position before we left the scene.
We then used what we learnt to create a performance in groups. Our brief was to include music and the theme of truths and lies. In one group, we used the Funeral March as the music to start the performance. This was because of the slow and sinister atmosphere we wanted to create. In our performance we were a group of pathologists about to perform an autopsy. We decided to use a little bit of dialogue throughout and tried to focus on the on the tempo of the music. Our twist around the stimulus of truths and lies was that one of our pathologists was under cover and actually was there to steal the body.
In another group we decided to use the song ‘Park Life’. Our piece focused on a stabbing that occurred in a park. We used this plot as we believed that it could link successfully with secrets and lies. At the beginning of the performance we created a ‘park scene’ by incorporating ideas from the the game we had played before. Whilst the song was playing, we all portrayed different movements and gestures to communicate to the audience what setting our piece took place in.
Blog Written by Gracie and Beth – Growtheatre Seniors