So gratifying, after Sensorium’s recent company focus on business development and our future growth, to come back to the actual creative work that we love doing – and especially being with the kids again! After my very first workshop of this tour introducing Goat to the kids in the forest, the joy they expressed at the magic before their eyes made me teary. I really do suspect that for many of the kids we “play” with in the workshops, their seems to be a heightened level of excitement for them that comes from following what’s going on – maybe the “language” of imagination and creative play really does transcend traditional modes of communication?
While the company is very excited about our upcoming development of an entirely new show starting in a few months, one of the interesting things about being back on the road right now with our popular Jub Jub Tree show is the opportunity to have a good look at how well our residency format works in the schools. The gradual build up – of excitement, understanding, and personal rapport between the artists and the kids and staff – within a school like Gladys Newton over two weeks before we get to the actual shows seems to be pitched at just the right pace and level of immersion for our audience. Getting to know the characters, the sensory setting and some of the songs and elements of the story – all the preparation and sensory experiences encountered along the way – means that the final performance really seems to “get in” to the children. The delight that the 4 -7yr olds expressed at the performance on Tuesday was not just about the antics of us artists on stage, but at the sheer pleasure of “living through” a complete story.
I’ve also been reminded of how spoilt we are (in a good way) in getting to know our audience members in the workshops before we perform to them on the last day. I love it that by then, each of us artists on stage knows which child needs Rooster to sing to them inches away from her face or that another child loves Donkey but hates feeling his furry tail etc. How strange will it be, I wonder, if I ever have to go back to performing for people without holding their hands or looking into their eyes…?
Rooster has been having a great time at Gladys Newton school! The students enjoyed making mini rooster puppets and roleplaying a day in the life of roosters and chickens, waking up in the morning ‘cock a doodle do’, eating grain, having a drink and falling asleep, only to wake everyone again every morning in the beautiful forest installation. One student was so attached he wanted to take the puppets home with him.
Rachel also assisted Michelle with the Donkey workshop. making ears, and tasting salt, sour and sweet – guess which was the favourite!
The first show of the jub jub tree went very well yesterday with Gladys Newton’s youngest students and family members participating playing music, and experiencing all the sensory delights Sensorium offers! more shows to come tomorrow!
Goat and Josh grabbing some shut eye after working hard in the forest
It’s a week since we set up the Jub Jub Tree Forest at Gladys Newton. I feel like we have been walking together with the students and staff down the shady forest paths. Each day, a little deeper in the forest. Each day a little deeper into the story. We started by exploring the forest together, making a forest music soundscape together, growing some leaves.We have worked hard with goat preparing the soil, we have been busy with rooster planting and pecking at seeds and hungry with donkey….. and now we are ready for the story of The Jub Jub Tree.
Teacher Sue said today – “We are going to miss you when you are gone.”
Photo: The Bamboozle Theatre “Winter Sparkle” installation we worked on in Leicester.
Almost a whole year after we travelled to the UK to work with and learn from leading companies in the field of Sensory Theatre for young special needs audiences, tomorrow we are hosting an informal session relating our experiences to interested local peers and supporters. Thursday 1 Nov – 10am – 12 noon – at ‘DADAA’: 21 Beach St, Fremantle. It’s been great to prepare by reviewing notes, re-reading blogs and poring over pics and documents. Also cool to be re-assured that yes, we do seem to have applied a great deal of the learning we had over this last year… See you there if you can make it – all welcome!
Last week, I worked with the Cerebral Palsy Centre to assist them in developing a Sensory Walk. This came from Sensorium being invited to run a Sensory Walk for special guests, clients and carers as part of a celebrating skills day.
Myself and Michelle ran the Sensory Walk and it was enjoyed so much, the clients and carers wanted to make their own! It was great to see everyone again and how enthusiastic the carers are to make this event.
The theme is ‘At the Beach’, so sand, smells and textures of seaweed and shadow puppet fish are to be experienced, plus the smell of coconut oil and towelling textures. Everyone will arrive on a percussion train to the sea. We hope the Cerebral Palsy Centre have lots of fun with their Sensory Walk!
Wonderful day playing with soundscapes in the forest and rocking little Roosters to sleep in their nests!