Tomato hands and crazy costumes!

July 9th, 2018 | Posted by Rachel - (0 Comments)


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 - (0 Comments)

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 - (0 Comments)



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 - (0 Comments)

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 - (0 Comments)


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 - (0 Comments)


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 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 - (0 Comments)


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

Bee Friendly!

May 16th, 2018 | Posted by Rachel - (0 Comments)

Our latest project is called Bee Friendly and has been funded by Grow Wild!

Here is some of the design work for our planters for our Bee Friendly Planter Trail – students at the New Start Centre at Hinde House have been working very hard to come up with designs to reflect our Community Partner’s Sites on the Flower Estate in Sheffield.

















Sharpen Up The Shakespeare

May 16th, 2018 | Posted by Rachel - (0 Comments)


This session we focused on developing Scene 1 and building our Shakespeare characters. I enjoyed the warm up game we played, led by another member of the group, in which we reacted to movements and actions in the way our characters would. I enjoyed it because it was inclusive and funny, but also a bit challenging because I had to think on my feet and manage to stay in character without corpsing.

In my group, we worked around the idea of setting the scene with all the Shakespearean characters featuring and revealing their problems. I felt personally, like I had a clear mind-set of what I needed to say and do and learnt a lot about Shakespeare and some context on Richard III.

-A member of the senior group

Corrupt leaders this way…

May 7th, 2018 | Posted by Rachel - (0 Comments)


On Thursday, we worked more on the scenes that we had started looking at last week. We worked in the woods, and thought more about where we would position those scenes.

One member led a game where we played follow my leader. Our play is the story of the Pied Piper, so follow my leader is important! In the second round of the game, we led the line as our characters in the play. We are inserting Shakespeare characters into the story of the Pied Piper. I am playing Lady Macbeth and I am one of the corrupt leaders. I did lots of hand washing and muttering and evil grinning! I really liked how this game got us to think about our characters and how they behave, but it also familiarised everyone else with each other’s characters. This is important because we have to know how to interact with one another when we are devising all the scenes in the play.

All being drunk… the leading character was the Porter from Macbeth!

In the main part of the session, we split off into the two groups – the bad spirits, and the corrupt leaders and townsfolk. I am in the corrupt leader category. We ran through what we had worked out the week before, in terms of scene structure. Then we discussed how our characters would interact because we had done more research about them in that past week (our corrupt leaders are Lady Macbeth and Richard III – there’s a complicated power complex!). I found improvising the scene quite hard because I wasn’t 100% comfortable in my character, but after talking it through, I managed to stay in role and do it. It felt good!

I think I have improved in…

–  Improvisation

–  Understanding a character’s motives and how they would act in certain situations

Maya, Senior Group Youth Theatre Member