Earlier this month, DNA had a wonderful weekend in London, with artistic director Rachel Riggs presenting a practical workshop and presentation about the early years Imaginary Leaps programme development in Western Australia at the Little Angel Theatre and Royal Central School of Speech & Drama. Plus three sell out shows of Cloud Child on the Sunday!It was wonderful to return to Central and the Little Angel , as both Rachel & Adam , originally trained in puppetry and had their first performance experiences here. The Hands On Symposium http://www.cropp.org.uk/events/hands-2-applied-puppetry-conference brings together puppetry projects with an applied purpose, nationally and globally with debate and practical workshops.
The second day was spent at Central School of Speech & Drama with practical workshop sessions. Rachel discussed Imaginary Leaps recent programmes, and then the group explored the nature of open and child led play with simple material exercises.
Instant puppets were made from objects and materials to aid imaginative play and development. Basic puppetry skills were added into the mix to enable confidence and technique. We had a lot of fun and could of carried on playing all day, but all too soon it was time for the plenary session, and to hear of the other days workshops including Tony Gee;s puppet making.
Very much enjoyed sharing practice and ideas with participants at the Hands On 2 Symposium,. The Cloud Child shows had a very interesting multi cultural London audience with many speaking a second language. It was fascinating to hear very young children asking questions and discussing points in the show in french, spanish, amongst other languages. As the show is non verbal with some makaton signing, it seems to be highly engaging for multi lingual children and I was able to observe their emotional engagement with the character and story too. A two year old girl burst into tears when Cloud Child disappeared at the end of the show, perhaps her first experience of loss? in a safe theatre environment. I remember I used to do that when very young, every time Andy Pandy finished on tv!