Volunteering with Growtheatre

September 28th, 2018 | Posted by Rachel - ()

After a whole year of working with Growtheatre it is nice to reflect on the wonderful time I have been able to share with the Youth Theatre facilitators and the participants! Working with all three groups on a Thursday evening is a fantastic way of learning how to interact with different age groups and also see just how developed the groups are right from Juniors, through Intermediates and into the Seniors.

Being a volunteer with the theatre group has also allowed my own learning to expand vastly. Working with drama and nature at the same time has opened my eyes to whole other ways of developing and exploring theatre, whilst playing lots of games and having loads and loads of fun every week! As well as studying drama and other elements of performance, Growtheatre also offers a unique opportunity to get involved with and learn new skills such as design work, whittling, building fires and many more! Activities in which I love assisting in with each group!

Growtheatre is like no other company I have worked with before and each week is filled with brand new and exciting experiences and opportunities, a year on and I can’t wait for many more sessions to come with the Theatre group!

 

– Paige Liddle

Growtheatre Volunteer

 

Growtheatre Youth Theatre’s Summer Shows

July 16th, 2018 | Posted by Rachel - ()

 

Last Thursday evening the woods were alive with the sounds of laughter and applause for the amazing young people who attend our Youth Theatre.  We had 3 shows in different parts of the woods; every single young person did themselves proud and created an amazing evening for family and friends.  We are very proud of them!

We would also like to thank members of our oldest group for writing blogs for us since Easter – they have done an awesome job in sharing their sessions.

Bee Friendly!

July 16th, 2018 | Posted by Rachel - ()

Growtheatre has been working with young people from the New Start Centre at Hinde House Secondary School on a project funded by Grow Wild. Pupils have worked alongside community partners from the Flower Estate in Wincobank, both the secondary and primary schools, Haythorne Place residential home, Wincobank Upper Chapel and Flower Estate Family Action. We have been working together to create a trail of planters full of UK native wild flowers that have been especially chosen to attract bees! On Tuesday we planted up the planters and had a great time running fun stalls and celebrating all the brilliant work that young people have done to design, create, plant up these planters. Community partners were thrilled to receive them and now have a colourful and bee friendly planter on the grounds.

We have received some great feedback which is lovely!

“What a successful project- staff and pupils were certainly buzzing (!!) on Tuesday – the launch day. Thank you so much for thinking of us; it was great how you tailored everything to the NSC pupils’ needs and the change of budget whilst still delivering an extremely valuable, coherent and exciting  learning experience.  The community aspect of the project is invaluable.  Please let us know when we can work with you again in the future.”  Assistant Head – Hinde House Secondary School

“We at Upper Wincobank Chapel are thrilled with the planter and were very impressed with the activities the young people had produced. Thank you so much for letting us have the decorated cans, beautiful bunting and the games resources to use at our garden party on Saturday.  I was particularly delighted to find a member of the public watering the planter today.  She had walked past it with her dog and came back with a bottle of water for the wild flowers.  We had a chat and she said how lovely it was.  Many thanks to the young people and adults who supported them, and to the funders for this inspiring addition to our garden.”  Community Partner

“Thanks again for hosting me yesterday – the event was a real pleasure to visit and the planters look fantastic! The pupils were great, and it was especially heartening to see how well they ran their activities at the primary school: they should be really proud of themselves.” Grow Wild Project Manager

Tomato hands and crazy costumes!

July 9th, 2018 | Posted by Rachel - ()

5/7/18

This week we had a dress rehearsal. I’m playing Lady Macbeth so my costume is ‘business woman’ style.  We looked like a bizarre bunch as we headed into the woods because there are lots of different types of costume (and lots are weird)! I missed the past two sessions because I was in France, but while I was away I learnt my lines so I was feeling prepared!

Sophie had helpfully labelled lots of bags with our names and sorted everyone’s props and costumes into them. When we got to the clearing in the woods, we set these props and costumes and then we were ready to start.

We ran through the whole show, although we had to stop a few times.  I think we could do with a couple more weeks to rehearse, but we have some time before the show on Thursday so I hope we can polish things up then.

One funny thing that happened is… my character Lady Macbeth helps murder someone in the actual play, which drives her insane. In our production, I am mad at the start because of the ‘evil spirits’. At the end, once Puck has got rid of the spirits, I am sane again. To show this transition, the design group decided I should have fake blood on my hands at the start, which I wash off.

This week, we put a little too much on, and we had nothing to take the blood off with. The result was that I had tomato-red hands! I looked more sunburnt than murderous! ☺

I need to remember…

• To not turn my back to the audience

• My lines and cues!

• To set my props correctly

• Make-up wipes!

Maya, Senior Group Youth Theatre Member

Rehearsing Everything…

July 4th, 2018 | Posted by Rachel - ()

28/06/18
In the senior group this week, we rehearsed the whole of this year’s summer performance. We made sure that we had our cues and positions correct and made minor improvements to the performance to make it better.
At the beginning of the session we played a game called park bench which I really enjoyed. The aim of the game was to use traits and the personality of your character in order to force somebody else (also in character) off of their throne. You had to come up with ideas off the top of your head to either make your character seem bold and brave or smart, to get the other person off, or defend your character to keep your place on the throne. Once you were on the throne, you had to choose what you said and did carefully so that you didn’t get overpowered and had to leave your throne. This game was led by another member of the senior group and it was very fun.
The rest of the session was spent working on our performance and developing the costumes. The skills I improved on are:

  • Being aware of others on stage
  • Quick thinking
  • Carrying on no matter what ­

Greg, Senior group Youth Theatre member

The Next Scenes

June 26th, 2018 | Posted by Rachel - ()

21/6/2018

 

This week in the senior group we worked on going through scenes 4, 5 & 6 with the lines from the script rather than it being devised and improvised.

 

We started the session with a vocal warm up. It involved counting up to five and then back down to 1. It sounded simple enough, but it had a twist! Every time we did it we cut out a number. However we would have to silently count that number. For example we would count: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Then we would cut out the number 5 and go: 1, 2, 3, 4, [beat], 4, 3, 2, 1. We went through cutting out numbers until we only had the number 1 left. I enjoyed this a lot because as well as warming up our voices it also warmed up our minds.

 

Going through the scenes was quite challenging as we weren’t used to reading the lines from a script. Also, a lot of people hadn’t brought their scripts and hardly anyone had learned their lines so it was difficult. However we did get through the scenes and it was fun to act in the new space we had chosen for the performance as the other clearing had too many midges. We spent a while working on staging so that the entire scenes could be seen from the audience. It was fun to work on some scenes that we hadn’t been too confident on before because they’d been mainly improvised

 

This week I improved my script working and staging skills.

 

– Dillon, senior group Youth Theatre member.

Putting it all together

June 20th, 2018 | Posted by Rachel - ()

Knowing that this week it was time to put the beginning of the Senior group’s show together, I went to the clearing that we’ve chosen in the woods to check all was well before the session. We’ve not been there for a few weeks, and in the meantime the most enormous, beautifully built den had been constructed across the clearing. It felt a bit rude to pull it down, but the plan was to run scenes 1, 2 and 3 back to back, and so we needed the space for our performers.

After 40 minutes of hard labour clearing away the branches, I headed back to the Woodland Discovery Centre to start the session. First there were some costume and prop details to sort, and then we all walked up to start our rehearsal in the clearing.

Each week when the young people have performed their devised scene, I’ve recorded it on my phone and then gone home and typed it up into a script. I’ve left 90% of it as they performed it… sometimes I’ve divided the lines slightly more evenly between the actors and I’ve also added in a little Shakespearean text – trying to insert relevant lines from each of the characters’ original plays into our text.

Thursday was the first time that the young people had seen the final script, and so the run through was a little clunky – working out entrances and exits, remembering who they were speaking to, getting their tongues around the Shakespearean language. We managed to run scenes 1, 2 and 3 twice, and make sense of them too – they did well!

Pied Piper being lifted by bad spirits… (this took a few goes)

Sadly, we also had a lot of particularly irritating visitors in the clearing with us… midges! They were really awful – the young people all had to act with their hoods up, swatting them away continuously. In fact, the midges were so awful that we are now thinking that we need to change the location of the play otherwise the actors will be upstaged by midges on the performance evening! So after all of my hard work with the branches, perhaps I didn’t need to clear that amazing den away… Next week we’re focusing on running the last 3 scenes and will try them out in a new, hopefully midge-free, location.

Sophie Hunter
Growtheatre Youth Theatre leader, Senior group

Getting Dressed for the Occasion

June 14th, 2018 | Posted by Rachel - ()

7/6/2018

For this weeks session we started off with a game led by a member of the group(for his arts award,) who taught us a game which was Musical Statues with a twist. The twist was, we got put in pairs and if one us moved then both people in the pair were out. Some people liked dancing more than others!

We also played another game called Laser Eyes; when you all stand in a tight shoulder-to-shoulder circle. When the leader says ‘Look up’ you look up at someone across the circle. If you make eye contact with someone you screamed and jumped back.

The acting team were working on the final scene of the show – scene 6. I don’t know what happened because I’m in the design group!

In the design team we had a chat led by a member of the group who is doing Arts Award. We all got assigned a character in the play and we had to make their costumes. All of the costumes are modernised versions of the Shakespeare characters (e.g Lady Macbeth and Richard III are smart business wo/men and Hamlet is a thug in a baseball cap and hoodie). My character, Orphelia is wearing a flowery skirt and top. I worked with another member of the group and we made a donkey head out of willow for Bottom. Someone else who is doing their Arts Award came round and took head shots of us all for the program they are making.

– Lola, Senior Group Youth Theatre member

Let’s all do Shakespeare

May 29th, 2018 | Posted by Rachel - ()

24/5/2018

In this week’s session, we put the scenes that we had devised last week into the woods.
Before we went into the woods, we did a vocal warm up where you say:
‘Boom
Boom chicka boom
Boom chicka rocka chicka rocka chicka boom
Uh huh
One more time’
After each line, the group repeats it back to the leader. Each leader said the words in a certain way – for example when I led, I made my voice go high and low and high and low which sounded weird! This is how it was a vocal warm up. My favourite round was when the way we said it was really quiet, but not whispering. It sounded amazing, because it was quiet but when everyone was saying it together you coyld hear it really well. It would be really interesting to use this as a technique in chorus work.

Once we were in the woods, we played a game called ‘Let’s All Be…’. We used Shakespeare characters from our play and put them in random situations. Some of my favourite combinations were Puck playing football, Lady Macbeth playing Tag, and Juliet playing Hide and Seek. It was really fun to think about how the characters would act in normal situations.

For the bulk of the session, we were looking at Scenes 4 and 5. I’m in Scene 4, the scene where the town is free of the ‘evil spirits’ (rats) and the leaders refuse to pay the Pied Piper. Sophie, one of Grow’s leaders, had written a script of what we had said the week before, and she had changed it slightly so it made more sense. This was helpful, but it made the scene feel less flowing because we were looking at our scripts. Once everyone knows what to do and say, it will be a powerful scene!

I learnt a new character development game and I developed my devising and script skills.

– Maya, Senior Group Youth Theatre Member

The Next Scenes…

May 22nd, 2018 | Posted by Rachel - ()

17/5/2018

This session we focused on scenes 4 and 5 of our show. In the original Pied Piper story, scene 4 is when the corrupt mayor goes back on his promise to pay the Pied Piper. Then scene 5 is when the Piper leads off the townsfolk’s children as revenge.

I was working on the fourth scene and I enjoyed the fact that we got to play our characters as they would normally be, rather than them being driven mad. We decided to have some traditional Shakespearean style music playing in the background to show how all of the town was celebrating and also included some Shakespearean activities like toss the pot.

I enjoyed a game we played at the beginning of the session which was run by a fellow member. It was based on a game called Grandmother’s Footsteps. In it, you have to sneak up behind the ‘grandmother’ and be the first to touch their back, however if the ‘grandmother’ turns around and catches you moving then you get sent back to the start. This version was interesting though as we all had to act as our characters during the game and when the ‘grandmother’ caught you, they had to send you back to the start in the way their character would. For example, somebody was Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and they sent people back to the start using their magic and mischief.

I developed my devising skills this session whilst devising the scene and working on how my characte r, the Porter, would interact with other characters within the play. I also worked on my leadership as I led a game of mafia at the end of the session. In the game, the players have to figure out who has been killing town members. However, I did find it difficult to remember all the different characters so it was a bit confusing, but it went well in the end.

– Dillon, Member of the Senior Youth Theatre Group