The last few workshops at Bramley Fulfilling Lives have been an exciting whirlwind of storytelling, prop making, movement, action and characters building. These wonderful sessions have created the building blocks for our performance – the finale at our Celebration event in December.
Making our own Tales
We have enjoyed working alongside the wonderful year 6 pupils at Bramley Primary School, who have taken part in some of the sessions at Bramley Fulfilling Lives. During one of their visits, we set up various creative stations around the room for the children and adults to explore. We had a dress up station to make still images and scenes, Stop Motion stories, drawing and visual characters, and finally verbal storytelling. The children threw themselves into the commotion and buzzed from one station to the next! We enjoyed making wonderful images and stories together using our imagination and play.
“Two children were living in a wooden hut, with a golden fire inside. The children were eating delicious, scrumptious chocolate! The wood chopper was sawing the wood in the dark forest while the children danced away in the hut. There was an evil queen hiding in the forest, and she was laughing at their dance moves!”
The Whale and the Thunderbird
We explored a new story each week, from various cultures and eras. In week 7, we heard the Native American tale of The Whale and the Thunderbird – with wonderful visualisations of the ocean and the humongous whale! Bryony and I enjoyed sharing this tale with both the adults and the children, offering lots of creative ways to bring the story to life.
With the adults, we experimented with different waves – gradually building to huge crashing waves on the shore. We also made props to retell the story, including a wonderful whale’s tail!
With the children, we created shoals of fish using movement and mirroring exercises. We were thrilled to have Carl, Steven and Jimmi with us from the adult session, to help us tell the story and take part in the movement exercise. When we demonstrated our shoaling movement back to each other, Tracy (a support worker with us from Bramley Fulfilling lives and a huge help during our sessions) led the group in a wonderful movement sequence!
Forest Stories and Fairy tales
As we headed towards the end of our project, we started rehearsing for the celebration event! In this session, we recapped our forest stories and the fairy tales that the children had created during one of their visits. Can we turn our branches and leaves into a magical forest?!
Movement of branches
Noises of leaves
No light falls beneath the trees
Using our forest chant and branch props, we practised making different movement patterns, twists and stretches.
We rehearsed a gingerbread story created by the children using cut out boards made in previous weeks. These wonderfully colourful characters and scenery helped us tell their story. Trish, John and Carl enjoyed bringing their characters to life through dance and bouncing movement!
We also practised making signs and images using hands, arms and expression, to illustrate audio recordings also made by the children in previous weeks. Tracy, Jane, Mark and Anthony remembered all the different gestures and movements to present to the rest of the group at the end of the session.
Our final session before our celebration event was a wonderful meeting of both the children and the adults together. We spent our time rehearsing our final story which was performed all together. We settled into place and began making the ocean with blue fabric and sparkly material, with lots of large crashing waves. Dan, a wonderful volunteer on the project created a beautiful soundscape with his guitar for us to listen to.
We began making our scene, first the children passed through the waves – becoming the silvery fish in our story.
Then we added the whale into mix! Carl and Stephen jumped to attention to play the beast, using the tale and mouth made in previous weeks to move through the crashing waves.
Finally, Tracy joined in the fun and became the hero of the tale as the Thunderbird – gliding through the sea to catch the greedy whale!
The celebration event arrived and the adults were ready to go! We started by recapping all of the stories, actions, movements and dialogue.
The children soon arrived and contributed to our final rehearsal – supporting the adults in remembering the different sequences and patterns. The children also played a vital role in one of the scenes as a shoal of fish deep in the ocean, being chased by a huge whale.
The performance was watched by the staff at the school and the centre, staff from Artlink and we were also visited by Rachel Reeves M.P. The performance was a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate all the creative ideas the children and adults had developed throughout the project. We would like to thank the audience for being so wonderfully engaged in the stories and supporting the adults and children to share their creativity.
Bryony and I have thoroughly enjoyed creating and storytelling with the adults from Bramley Fulfilling Lives and the children at Bramley Primary School. We would like to thank all the staff at the school and at the centre for their support towards this wonderful and unique project!
Ellie and Bryony
Photographs by Victoria Kortekaas