Sunday, 4 November 2018

Story-Makers: The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat- Week One: Storyboards

A big morning for Anthos Arts! Today we launched Story-Makers: a brand new drama group for ages three to six. What with the early years training and experience, this has been something of a long-term goal for us and it is feels both fantastic and surreal that we are finally getting started. Of course with a new project comes a new blog. To those who have never read one of these before; welcome!

Alongside our younger youth groups I attempt to keep a weekly blog of what the participants get up to each week and sometimes provide some insight into the things we do with them (see Chameleon Group posts for examples). This is mainly for parents to be able to see (hence the pictures) and find out more about what went on. Over the term I will be attempting to do the same for our Story-Makers and providing (hopefully) some insight into the ensuing madness.

So to start off, our focus for our opening week was storyboards. With each of our youth groups we have different aims. With our Young Company the aim is professional development, while the Chameleons is about building understanding and teamwork skills (both are about having fun-but that's a given). With the Story-Makers our focus is learning about stories. Reading, drawing and, ultimately, making them. The story the group is focusing on this term is Carol Rumble's retelling of 'The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat.' The book is a fantastic adventure about two children who go 'to sea' in a box on the living room floor. There are many animals and characters which make it a brilliantly rich book for us to unpick and learn from. 

Storyboarding is an important part of creating work. Whatever show you want to create, the story at the centre of it needs to be clear; using storyboards to plan out what elements are involved and what direction/order the story goes in is a fantastic method of creating coherent and diverse tales. It made sense for this to be the first activity for the Story-Makers then, as it is the first stage in creating any grand story. With the group being new and everyone being unfamiliar with each other, it was also important to plan a 'low-stakes' activity where everyone could get involved. For those unaware, a 'low-stakes' activity means one were there is very little pressure or risk involved for participants. Games/activities classed as this aim to be a comfortable way for those who are unsure about taking part to 'test the waters.' This can apply to any age group, but it is highly important within early years as it establishes a feeling of safety for children. 

The main task of the session today was for us to read the story and then create our own storyboards displaying what happens. It was a good chance for the group to each create their own work and there were options; they could draw one part of the story, the parts they liked most or even attempt to draw it all. Each member of the group (and a few attending parents) created a fantastic storyboard, which we shared with each other at the end. Allowing time for the group to experience and appreciate one another's work was important; as it helps them connect to one another and make friends. 

And so our Story-Makers is a go! It was a really fun first session (for me anyways) and the group created some fantastic work. Everyone seems to like the story too, so good news all round. Over the next few weeks we will look at different ways a story can be told and do some set/costume designing too. It's bound to be colourful fun. 

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