Acting out emotions at Artis training


Planning a drama session for a group of incredibly talented performing artists for training was both exciting and daunting.  It was fantastic to watch Artis Specialists throw themselves into my exercises. Three activities really stood out:


We told an ‘Emotion Story’ of an Artis training day. Pausing at each emotion to ask how people would feel and how that might look, we then and moved around the room acting the emotion out. I use this exercise with KS1 to get them thinking about performing and presenting emotions using their bodies. Watching a group of professional performers express physically how angry they would be if there was no pizza left at lunch time was a joy.


I often use ‘Alien language’ to encourage children to use all forms of communication when performing. I demonstrate how I use my tone of voice, gestures, body language and facial expressions to communicate without using any words, whilst talking in a made up alien language. I then ask children to have a go in pairs, and they always impress me with the range of topics and conversations that emerge. The Artis Specialists were no different. I was distracted by one conversation in which one of the Specialists re-told an astonishing course of events that had really upset her to her sympathetic partner.


We concluded the session with a performance created using anincomplete story. I asked the Specialists to fill in the gaps of a story I’d written with things like type of characters and magic words. In school I ask the children to come up with ideas for the gaps in pairs or threes, and then tell the story, asking the children for their contributions at each relevant gap. We then put it all together and act out the final story. On our training day we improvised a story of a Princess who lived in a Mosque and survived an encounter with a terrifying four legged beast, thanks to the help of her friends. With children in the past I have then rehearsed this for performance and sharing.


I left feeling delighted; not only did I share my ideas with my colleagues but I also learnt a lot from their feedback. There was a great idea of performing alongside KS1 children to support them in sharing the best possible performance work they can. Happy story telling!
Photo for drama training blog Feb 13

14 Mar 2013

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