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Posted: Tuesday 06 November, 2012
The Next Stage Theatre In Education team were delighted to return to St Saviour's Junior School in October 2012 to facilitate workshops for the Year 4s in their Creative Arts Week. Once again, the school were using a painting as a stimulus for all the activities in the week - this year it was Paolo Uccello's St George and the Dragon, and the children were exploring the theme of "Heroes".
Next Stage worked with the youngsters at the start of the week using drama to explore many aspects of heroism and some of the other ideas suggested by the painting. The team used elements from the legend of St George and the Dragon as warm up games - the children were encouraged to interpret the heaving, stretching, dragging, coiling and panting of the dragon to loosen up their bodies, and they all had a chance to try out their voices as a hero, a victim and a monster.
The class was then divided into two groups and their aim was to work together to create a huge dragon. The children all participated equally and they had some excellent ideas - one group removed their jumpers to show their red shirts so they could be a red dragon rather than a blue one! In just 10 minutes they gave their dragon flapping wings, sharp claws, terrifying jaws and teeth, and a tail that whipped and swung.
For the rest of the session the class worked in pairs, creating their own "hero and villain" slow motion fight. Using a series of freeze-frames, the class explored how body language and facial expressions can tell a story even without movement. The children chose their own heroes and villains and the Next Stage team were treated to a display of characters from mythology, popular films and books, and creatures from the pupils' imaginations.
The workshop concluded with a discussion of the painting and the legend of George and the Dragon, and each child was presented with a certificate to recognise the morning's work. The teachers provided the following feedback:
"A perfect introduction to a week’s work!"
"The children had a great hour with you, thoroughly enjoying their acting debuts. We will be using their dragons in another dance activity this week."
"I would definitely use the company again."