Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Holiday courses? It's all in the prep...

Having just put on our public shows it’s now time for our spring holiday courses. “You’ve spilled the beans about putting on shows, what about holiday courses?” I hear you scream. You’re not screaming? Well I’ll tell you anyway...

It’s about organisation (see the common thread running through this). There are lists after lists to prepare – contact details, medical details, t-shirt sizes, name labels, song lyrics, certificates and so on – it’s amazing how much paper you can generate.

Planning for the week’s theme is usually quite relaxed, however. We GENUINELY leave the story up to the children as much as possible. We do have a good idea of the songs and dances we want to do but the story... to give you an example, this week on our theme ‘Yellow Brick Road’, the children have come up with a sweeping tale of misunderstood witches, communities lacking love, courage and knowledge and of their redemption. We facilitate the discussion, they come up with the story. Lisa was thrilled at lunch on the first day with what had been suggested.

But this week we only have 4 days to put it on – well 3 really as the show is on the 4th day!

As I write I await news of what costumes they want before diving into the chaos that is our garage wherein 90-odd ‘tuffcrates’ of costume lie waiting for me not to find them. And by Thursday it will all come together in the SandPit Theatre and every time parents are simply amazed at what the children come up with.

It’s a unique approach that takes some courage but we believe it provides a much richer experience and a real feeling of ownership for the children. And it’s not ‘Annie’ thank goodness...

Meanwhile the little ones in First Class have a similar number of lists but more preparation of costume and story prior to their arrival. Quite often we need specific costume items which have to be ordered in. And we need to prepare their craft projects – windmills, pictures and invitations this week!

Once we’re off and running the week flies by and by the end of it we are always tired but exhilarated – and so, most importantly, are the children.

And in the summer we do this three weeks running! Six sets of children, three entirely new shows (Best) and three classics (First Class). Another sign that we must indeed be mad!