Sunday, 9 December 2018

Story Makers: The Adventures of the Owl and the Pussycat- Week 6: 'Backdrops.'

It's been a busy week at Anthos Arts- with our young company in the thick of rehearsals and our Chameleons gearing up for their Christmas show next week, and all of the admin to go with it-but this morning's session with our Story Makers was a fantastic way to round it off. The topic this week was backdrops and how they fit into storytelling. There was also some fancy dress as we dived into the costume box (or bag) to create some characters.

Some of our Story Makers had the chance to attend press night for 'Jack and the Beanstalk,' this year's pantomime at the Exeter Northcott Theatre this week. Within this show were lots of different backdrops which helped to convey setting to the audience. Given this, it seemed like a good opportunity to explore this with the group. We discussed the show and how the use of these backdrops helped the audience to understand where the action was taking place. We also began to explore the idea of what backdrops we could use to tell an adaptation of our story.

In order to help us think about what different backdrops would suit different characters, we used different costumes. This was to create characters which we would then specifically design backdrops for. The result would mean that we strayed slightly from the story this week; though it still linked back in through discussion. There was numerous costumes in the bag- we ended up with a king, a princess and a maid to name a few.

Once everyone had their characters their task was to get drawing a backdrop that suited them. We had some interesting settings- some drew castles, some drew houses, some drew underwater caves with sharks and some drew themselves jumping into space...drama. It was great seeing each member of the group create their setting and each put a unique spin on it.

Afterwards we had everyone show their backdrops off. One person would hold someone's up behind them so that we could see how it fitted with their character. Our group is full of energy and imagination which doesn't like to sit still very long, so it was nice watching them share their work like this.

As for why we decided to look at backdrops; they are an important part of theatre, especially children's theatre. Backdrops are a fantastic visual aid which helps to immerse the audience in the world of a story. Whilst not every show or every theatre use backdrops, they add another level for the audience to enjoy and wanted the chance for the group to use these to express the stories of their characters and get thinking about what backdrops we might use if we were telling the story of the Owl and the Pussycat.

Thus ends another week, our penultimate week with this group. It has been a wild first term for the Story Makers and exploring the story in so many different ways has been a lot of fun. Now to retreat back and make plans for our big finale next week. Hot on the heels of our Chameleon show as well, it will certainly be a busy weekend!

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