Cardboard Town: Theatre Workshop
I recently conducted a theatre workshop in English for Italian primary age kids. As some of you teachers and parents well know, it’s a challenge keeping kids focused. It was a project based workshop where memorising their lines to The Gruffalo was the last objective. I was more interested in getting them to first brainstorm and then make their sets, posters and mini notebooks to keep a diary of their ideas manifested.
The group of twenty was divided into five smaller groups and they each chose what building facade to make. To the play we added on an additional story where friends met at different locations in a town before heading off to the main production and along with their family, friends and teachers watched The Gruffalo.
I was a bit surprised at how well they took to the project and how much their work contained minute details of their culture. They were true visionaries and after sketching their ideas in their handmade mini notebooks, took to the materials. These included cardboard (got lucky as paper recycling was due that day and so I picked up tons of it on the ride to the workshop), paint, brushes, scissors and tape. Magic!
They measured, disagreed, came to terms, built their walls which sometimes fell, they found ways to put them back up again and after lunch they couldn't wait to get back to work. The flower and tree details that went into their pieces were special—the awning on the ice-cream parlour and basket for dumping used paper napkins, the pizza signage on top of the pizzeria, and the greek temple pediment which went into the theatre design were really cool too. Kids can be so thoughtful in their expression.
After the show their home room teachers wanted to keep the set designs. So their building live on to be discussed and appreciated by others too. Maybe the little town will continue to grow.