Growing the Imagination

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 Red horse c uMatthew's storyboardDeath in a Nut - Nan explains to Jack 



Imagination Forum :


Play of Light has initiated a forum giving teachers and artists an opportunity to meet and develop ideas for supporting imaginative development within the existing National Curriculum, to help engage all learners and increase the enjoyment of academic success.


Next meeting : During the Christmas holidays, 2016. Please contact the company for more details.


Immersive story experiences :


'Take me to the Tropics' with a palm tree and a huge shadow screen, brings an intrepid Victorian explorer, Miss Cecilia Cree,  to lead an interactive telling of two Brazilian creation myths. Tailored to Key Stages 1 and 2, this involves the children using puppet characters and costumes to tell the story, following an introductory workshop in puppetry skills and a percussion workshop. Focussed on performance, some designing and making can be integrated to the day when appropriate.

'Pathways to the North Pole' - designed for young children from 3 - 6, they are invited to visit a North Pole research station to hear the extraordinary song of the bearded seal. The 'scientist' leads the way : we all dress warmly and pack some food, before setting off across the 'arctic' playground , spotting tracks of animals and birds as we go. When we reach the polar research station, we hear the bearded seal sing its song, and eat a snack while listening to an amazing 'Snow Story'. Returning to the classroom, the children's own pop-up 3-d snow scenes are waiting to be assembled, with a starter pack of arctic birds and animals in a sturdy laminated form for subsequent play.





Some basic ideas for playing with shadow theatre -


1. It is an excellent medium for stories, the bigger the better : easy to make up your own, or use traditions to inspire you...


For example - the Greek myth of Odysseus, travelling home to Ithaca....

or a fairytale such as Cinderella or Tom Tit Tot-  told from whatever perspective the group wishes to put on it.

Write imaginative prose and adapt the most suitable parts of  it for short shadow theatre scenes.


2. Designing is simple and builds confidence as your cut-out drawing, mounted on a stick, instantly becomes an animated figure.


3. Stories can be transposed into a huge 'shadow lantern' story box, lit by little torches - as we found with The Lemon Princess


4. Music goes very well with shadows : a wide range of instruments from different cultures can be played for sound effects and tunes.


5. Different crafts sit well with it : e.g.  block- print or paint, on cotton or silk, and use this for backdrops or decorations of the theatre.


6. Trick puppets can be made by hiding one part under another, using opacity to 'shape shift' what seems a rock into a crocodile, for example.


7. Puppets and landscapes can be black and white, or coloured with felt tips, tissue paper, acetate, sweet wrappers, and textured with doileys, feathers etc. Shadow puppetry can be made very very cheaply, in a planet-friendly manner!


8. Outdoor work is possible if a tent or marquee can restrict the light, making the shadows show



Comments on previous shadow theatre residencies in schools :


"I thoroughly enjoyed it, the children had a wonderful time and got alot out of it educationally and socially." Sue Tolputt, Year 4 teacher, Churchill School, Oxted

"Mostly our days are spent on reading and writing and mathematics. This is a real opportunity for the children." Serena Flint, Year 3 teacher, Tangmere County Primary School


"I'd almost forgotten what it could be like for classes to be such fun."  Judy Duffield, Year 6 teacher, Churchill Primary School, Oxted