Artistic Discoveries in European Schoolyards

Platform Activities | 2011, January 1 – 2011, December 31

National Projects with Young People 2011

Educational Work – Theatre, Visual Art, New Media – of the partner theatres during 2011

PLATFORM 11+, Brageteatret and Galterud skole 2011
2011 has been an eventful, exciting and educational year, in terms of our col- laboration with Brageteatret and the Platform 11+ process.
In February we received a beautiful gift from pupils in Tallin, which has been framed and is now displayed in the school hall. We sent out pop-art pictures and glass-angels to a school in Dresden. Terje Hartviksen transported the glass angels with him and presented them to the Dresden pupils at the opening performance of Thinking Time.
The glass angels are the result of our creative work with Before the Bell, and they are now being used as decorative ornaments in many parts of our school. Brageteatret has also received many angels as gifts from our pupils.
In May, during the ‘Thinking Time’ rehearsals, Brageteatret’s co-production with the TJG in Dresden, a teacher and a group of students worked as a reference group, together with the director and actors. We gave feedback to the artists: We told them what it was that we liked and we also made some suggestions as to what might be done differently, particularly about the audience in the German version. Some months later all the pupils saw the Norwegian version.
Our teachers, Linda and Toril, went to the teachers’ seminar in Palmela in April. They worked on drama practices, and got to know the teachers par- ticipating from the other countries better. They went to a play in Teatro Bando, and saw the visual art exhibition, which had been produced in the summer of 2010.
This spring, two teachers and seven pupils will go to York, to work with other students who are also involved in the co-production. The teachers have
already had one weekend together. During this meeting they planned the visit and the program for the students. They are now working on improving their man- ner of presenting our school and town, before they leave in April. The pupils’ theatre work in York will be a great experience for them. It will provide great inspiration for continuing the process of making their own play here at Galterud in September. Working with Brageteatret, we want to create something that reflects our school and our students, displaying the talent of our young people. Our working title is ‘Sense of Place – Galterud’, the idea is to use the whole school as a playing area, and to have a number of systematically arranged events happening si- multaneously. We are looking forward to working with Brageteatret, and to further involvement in Platform 11+ next year!
Galterud Skole

Acting workshops for adolescents
Pilsen‘s Alfa Theatre has been holding acting workshops for young people on a regular basis since January 2010. Fourteen adolescents, one workshop leader, one main subject: a train journey as pilgrimage through life…
“An endless number of carriages In each, numerous travellers Each traveller has a story Where might they all be going? Where might we all be going?”
After last year’s successful variation on Commedia dell’arte, this year we have decided to focus on auteur work.
The production, which has the working title ‘Train’, consists of studies by the actors in the form of travellers’ stories. The students chose their subjects themselves: a difficult relationship with a father, discrepancies between an individual’s thoughts and actions, malicious gossip, the value of friendship, insouciance in starting up romantic relationships, the need for belonging and acceptance, the desire to create… It all takes place in a train carriage, and sometimes outside it, a little lightheartedly and a little seriously. Can we turn the clock back on some events? Can we get into another train? What acts as our alarm cord? Reality becomes a dream, the credible becomes absurd… In the end, it is all the fruit of one traveller’s imagination, and everyone is just a character in the book she is writing.
Blanka Josephova-Lunakova, workshop leader

the Web Emporium by Akos Nemeth
On drama pedagogic workshops that follow the performances – from a drama teacher’s perspective
All performances at the Kolibri Children’s and Youth Theatre are followed by drama pedagogic classes. Kalocz Laszlo gives his personal account on a theatrical post-show workshop:
We offer a workshop for school groups that visited the performance where they get a chance to form their own opinion, to openly discuss the problems presented in the performance. Alongside discussion we use means such as theatrical game- playing, use of conventions, methods etc. Here is a description of the workshop for ‘The Web Emporium’.
1. Group discussion
After the performance there is a short discussion with the whole group. The question I asked is if the scene-changes in the performance were clear. One pupil asked me what the ending is, or more specifically, why there is no end to the story. We talked about that. I asked them why they think that there are no grown-ups in the play. Their answer was “because they work, they aren’t at home…” I usually leave this subject and get back to it at the end of the ses- sion. The actors then come to join us…
2. Characters and their burdens – conciliation in small groups
I might say to the kids “There are five characters, please tell them what you thought they were like. What is missing from their lives? Please choose one character who you find sympathetic or interesting and join their group!”
The actors remain in character during the talk. They answer questions and discuss with the kids.
3. Monologues
“It would be good to hear what each group thinks of their character. Tell us what they found out about you, and what you found out about yourselves”, I say to them.
The actors give short speeches (in character) in which they explain what was being discussed in the groups. The overlapping speeches naturally turn into a discussion between the characters: they make remarks, they add to the other characters’ speeches.
4. 5. 6. Situations, Scenes, Exercises
This is the central and most important part of the workshop in my opinion. It’s essentially free form as we try to fit each game to the given age group.
The group collected the information on the characters, we all heard it from the speeches they gave. We know what their problems are, who could help them, what it is that they need. The drama teacher ought to keep open ears during the discussions in the small groups, but he or she can still gain information from the speeches and has some time to think about what situ- ation he might throw the characters into. It would be impossible to explore all five characters in five situations in the given timeframe, therefore, we join situations, characters and scenes together so that we can have a look at all of them.
7. Finishing
“Where are the parents, why don’t we see them in the play?”, I ask. The answers were that the parents don’t see their kids, they don’t care, or sometimes the kids don’t want the parents to be there…

Elsinor’s workshops in secondary schools in Milan and surrounding areas resulted in many different productions this year. They will be presented in the second ‘Festival Platform 11+ Milano’, in May 2012, together with other youth productions from schools from Milan and Lombardy: ‘A Christmas Carol’, by Charles Dickens with the kids of Collegio della Guastalla in Monza; 3 different versions of ‘Il Corsaro Nero’, from the novel by Emilio Salgari, with 3 classes of the Istituto Frassati in Seveso; ‘Iliade A’, from Omero, with 93 kids of the Scuola Secondaria di Primo Grado Andrea Mandelli, in Milan; ‘The Paul Street Boys’, from Ferenc Molnar, with the Fondazione Sacro Cuore, in Milan; 2 versions of ‘Un anno in favola’, from Esopo, Fedro and La Fontaine, with 2 class groups of the Istituto Candia in Seregno; all the adaptations from the original texts are by Giuditta Mingucci.
Other workshops with high schools are going on with the Istituto Imiberg in Bergamo, with the kids of Liceo Sacro Cuore in Milan, Cometa in Como and Dante Alighieri in Rimini.

For the sake of peace
In ‘Voor de lieve vrede’ Saskia Driessen played a soldier’s daughter. She does her best to keep her family together for the sake of peace. ‘Voor de lieve vrede’ was performed for children aged 12 upwards. Before coming to our play, each class took part in a workshop, its theme was also ‘peace’. The participants had to think about their own situation, their own family and what they can do to keep their family situation good, for the sake of peace. During the workshop they also played out some scenes from the play.
super Almarkt (EuR-opa)
This production is all about collaboration, crisis and what if… The EU collaborates to maintain peace. The family in the play tries to collaborate to create a range of supermarket stores. But the crisis affects the EU and the fam- ily. And what should be done next? Every pupil gets his own exercise book. In this book they can make assignments, individual or classical. It is divided into four chapters, with differ- ent text passages from the script. The pupils can watch short films about the beginning of the EU, and about the crisis. They can debate about the mean- ing of money and about what they think of the EU. In the third chapter the pupils have to look at their own family. In the last chapter they have to make predictions about their future. Who will they be in 20 years time, where will they be and how will they be living then? After they’ve seen the play, the pupils are invited to write a poem. And so, some schools even discover they have a poet in their classroom.

In 2011 we continued our work with Poceira?o’s school, adapting texts from Platform11+ authors as well as texts from Portuguese authors. Our commit- ment to support their work has been developed through the School’s Theatre Club activities. In this particular context, students have been motivated to create their own texts and to present a show to their colleges.

Tales Without Words was a six-week project that we ran with our
partner platform school, Manor, York. In weekly sessions, run by a variety of practitioners, we explored a variety of different visual theatrical styles including mask, clowning, dance-theatre and ensemble movement. The group will use the skills they learnt in the project to create a performance that will be performed in York Theatre Royal’s studio theatre in July 2012. This follows on from a successful festival of work by four schools in 2011 inspired by the themes from Pilot’s own production of What Light. Three young writers from Manor School co wrote What Goes Up, a darkly comic tale set after a mysterious apocalypse, Joseph Rowntree School presented Hush, a world submerged, a forgotten landscape with a hidden secret, Don Valley School devised and produced Dami and Canon Lee, Time Flies.
Arjunan Manuelpillai and Kate Plumb (Youth Theatre Director YTR) worked with a group of 11–14 year olds over a week in the summer holidays on a new production of Arje’s Platform play School Ties which was performed in York’s studio theatre. The participants could also gain their bronze arts award in which the young person creates a portfolio about the week, this can be in the form of photographs, notes, internet research, drawings and also includes interviewing a hero in the arts and seeing a live performance. Throughout the Autumn we ran workshops for schools and colleges associated with Blackbird to accompany our online resources.

Creative drama workshops and writing for children
The Theatre Institute is now in its fifth year of the Creative writing project. It is aimed at children young people up to 18 years old. The main goal is edu- cational work in the field of script writing. The project aims to provide the participants with an environment conducive to writing, a place where they will be able to develop invaluable skills so that their confidence and ability to work as a team can grow. The project should improve communication skills and offer an outlet for self expression. It is a series of regular workshop in various theatres all over Slovakia, where a dramaturg of the theatre leads a class once or twice a week on the subject of writing plays for children. All the classes meet in June at the National Theatre showcase called Touches & Connections, on ‘Junior Day’, where they have a public presentation of their working methods and staged readings of the plays children wrote during the year, directed and performed by professional actors.
Dramatically Young 2012
The Theatre Institute announced that the ‘Dramatically Young 2012’ competition will be held again this year. This the third year in a row for this
competition, the aim of which is to find the best dramatic text written by authors under 18 years of age. The competition is open to anyone who has interesting ideas and who feels like trying their hand at writing a dramatic text or a play. There are no thematic restrictions. Winners will be awarded with attractive prizes.
The competing texts are evaluated by a jury composed of theatre profes- sionals and professional playwrights. The prize-winners will be announced in June during the national theatre showcase ‘Touches & Connections’. The plays written for the competition are stored in the public library of the Thea- tre Institute and are a valuable resource for teachers from various primary and high schools, who conduct theatre workshops in schools. One of the plays from the competition will be staged as a theatre performance by children in a Studio of Dance, Movement and Theatre in Bratislava.

EEA believes that:
a) The art making process unites people from diverse backgrounds in a posi-
tive shared experience
b) That everyone has a right to engage in cultural activity
c) That, through engaging in positive arts activities, young people can explore
and develop communication and social skills, confidence, motivation to learn and the capacity to imagine, play and believe in their own potential
In recent years EEA’s Youth Arts Programme has deepened through reflection and reconstruction inspired by working with our Youth Panel. Members, as young leaders, are informing the creative development of our programme through their dynamic approach and altruistic attitude.
We strive for our Youth Arts Programme to be:
Flexible – responsive to the needs of young people
Scalable – from small interventions in everyday life to large scale theatri- calities
Integrated – linking to local service provision and current concerns, forming partnerships with like-minded organisations to achieve artistic excellence Sustainable – providing social impact and progression routes for young people
With the world looking to London for the 2012 Olympic Games, EEA is forging opportunities for young people to become part of their city’s cultural event. We are working with 86 young people aged 12-19 to create The Nucleus En- semble – an outdoor performance group that devises work for community and cultural events in their local areas. Governed by a core group, they are currently in the process of developing a marketing campaign; designing cos- tume and props; participating in specialist master-classes with industry ex- perts; devising material for performances and developing their project blog site –
In collaboration with the Imperial War Museum (specialists in social history) we are holding a Creative Symposium – We Are The Future that will allow 100 young people from across London to share their creative journeys through presentations, performanc es and youth-led workshops. It will be an opportunity for young and emerging activists, artists and critical thinkers to get together and explore how young people can use public space to commu- nicate with their communities.

Oulu City Theatre’s youth involvement began with dramaturgical workshops in the autumn 2011 to prepare a class of 13 year olds from Myllytulli School to act as a youth jury in the Platform11+ National Play Writer’s Contest. Structure of plots, the expression of plays and conventions of theatre were discussed, and the students were directed to write their own short texts.
During early 2012 the class read and discussed all the plays submitted in the contest and interestingly chose as their winner the same play as the official jury. During the 31st Oulu Children’s Theatre Festival the project classes came to see VAT Teater and Kolibri Theatre co-production Help!
In the spring of 2012 the youth workshops continued with the students from Myllytulli School and a class from Oulun Normaalikoulu. A Czech production called Pirate07&QueenofLove, written by Petr Vodic?ka during Platform11+ 2010–2011 season, was taken as a starting point for performing and visual workshops to produce a virtual/new media youth production. Inspired by the themes and the strong visual elements of the original production, the groups embarked on a journey into comic books, fantasy characters, animation, vir- tual reality and the world of computer games. The work culminated in a live/ virtual performance and filming session at the theatre in May 2012.

The work with youngsters has mainly revolved around the P 11+ perfor- mances – ‘Paperclip Belt’, ‘Salto Mortale’ and ‘Help!’. (Extra information on our website). Four groups of youngsters have been engaged in these activi- ties: VAT Theatre Forum Group, Tallinn 32nd Secondary School theatre class, students from Tallinn Old Town Educational College and Merivalja School.
We had already developed a workshop for ‘Paperclip Belt’ (by Mare Sabolotny / Rein Agur) in a previous period, this workshop is still continuing and is being lead by VAT Theatre Forum Group members.
There has been educational activity in two schools with ‘Salto Mortale’ (by Kristiina Jalasto / Michaela Zakut?anska). Director Kati Kivitar, artist Pille Kose, music designer / actor Ago Soots and educator Mari-Liis Velberg met classes for the following activities: carrying out creative tasks (both written and in workhops) connected to the characters’ inner worlds given by director, completing musical tasks connected to the music of the performance and taking part in art workshops, which were exploring the characters’ inner world and costumes. Both classes were also invited to see the perfor- mance before premiere, and their thoughts were heard in the discussion after the performance, in which actors, directors and other theatre people and youngsters took part.
There was also exhibition presenting the art workshop outcomes and educational work of ‘Salto Mortale’ held in VAT Theatre hall since premiere of the performance.
With ‘Help!’ ( by Aare Toikka / Peter Horvath) the process has been as follows. Meriva?lja school 5th grade group’s comments about the perfor- mance are now on our web-page to give teachers an idea of how students see the performance. Since spring 2011 we developed a workshop that links with the topics of the performance. Andres Karu, who leads the workshop
‘Help! Help Yourself!’, which is offered to teachers, combines rich experiences in mountain climbing and survival in difficult situations. The workshop also gives the students the opportunity to examine their experience of the performance more closely.

In September 2011, tjg. theaterakademie worked again with students of the ‚Gymnasium Burgerwiese’, the tjg. partner school in the Platform 11+ project. The theatrical confrontation concerning and abstracting the student’s everyday life was thereby part of the diverse educational work during the project. In two weeks of intensive work at the theatre as well as in the school, students from 5th and 6th grades developed two scene collages titled ‘If I had to say what’ and ‘How I found my parents’. The aim was to give students the opportunity to become creative in two particular genres of the performing arts, radio plays and animation, to explore the specific characteristics of each genre. Stories of students which emerged during the first project week were then used as a basis for the further work. Next, in a writing workshop, the text was edited and transformed into scenes. The theme of the stories was ‘What if all men aged 13 would disappear?’

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