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Umbrellas provide inspiration at St Saviour’s Junior School

Posted: Friday 16 December, 2011

The Next Stage Theatre In Education team were delighted to be invited to St Saviour's Junior School to facilitate two hour-long drama workshops based on Auguste Renoir's famous painting "The Umbrellas". The Year 4 class had been using the painting as stimuli for their Creative Arts Week, with a trip to the Holburne Museum and a themed dance workshop, and the Next Stage team had been asked to devise a session of drama games and activities based on events happening in the picture.

The TIE team introduced the youngsters to drama warm-ups games, with the children learning to quickly step into a character in different weather conditions and trying out simple mime movements such as opening umbrellas using the game "Simple Simon says". The class was then divided into pairs and the children were asked to identify different period pieces of clothing that the subjects are wearing in "Umbrellas". The pairs then devised a mirroring routine where one pupil dressed themselves as a person from the painting and their partner "mirrored" their movements, which the children performed with excellent concentration and attention to detail. The final exercise was performed in threes, where the pupils focussed on 3 characters from the painting, gave them a "back story" - where they were going, where they'd been, how they were feeling - and devised a short story about their characters.

The workshops were received extremely well by the pupils and staff alike, and Next Stage received the following comments from the teachers:

"I was very impressed to observe my class, some of which are sometimes fairly apathetic towards school respond to your techniques! I also observed a very quick progression of improvements in the children’s work as the session developed."

"The session was an absolute hit where lots of learning took place."

"Thank you very much for coming and see you again!"

Below are some photos from the morning's activities, which concluded with a presentation of a certificate for each child who had taken part in the workshop.

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