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1st Insect Drama Workshop – Blogs from Cap-a-Pie

August 4th, 2015


Photo credit – Dr Vivek Nityananda

Beginning the Insect Show – Katy Vanden

Today I’m very excited to get into the rehearsal room and start work on Cap-a-Pie’s new production – The Insect Show (working title). The show is as of yet unnamed and for good reason – we have a big team of creative collaborators, waiting in the rehearsal room, and this show will be as much theirs as it is Cap-a-Pie’s.We are very pleased to be working with an excellent creative team on this project. Joining myself and Brad McCormick at Cap-a-Pie is Dr Vivek Nityananda – insect expert from Newcastle University, two actors – Aron DeCasmaker and Hannah Goudie and last, but certainly not least, families and other visitors at Ouseburn Farm over the summer holidays 2015.

Our first workshop at Ouseburn Farm starts this morning and I’m intrigued to see what happens when we bring together Cap-a-Pie, our performers, Dr Vivek Nityananda and participants into a rehearsal room and start to explore insects and devise a show together.

We want to create characters, story, movement and design all through a devising process where anyone is invited to participate. Just turn up at 11am on a Tuesday or Thursday or 1pm on a Wednesday and you too can help make our insect extravaganza. We’ll also ask if you’d like to have a credit as part of the creative team – we want to write everyone’s name that contributes on our flyer – hopefully we’ll have to use a small font!

For Cap-a-Pie this is an excellent opportunity for us to make a highly original and authentic piece of theatre for families alongside an inspiring creative team. On 4th September we’ll be sharing our ideas so far at a work in progress showing at Ouseburn Farm. This will provide not only a chance for us to perform our ideas but also for the participants and families we’ve worked with to share their thoughts and ideas on what we have made with them.

This project also provides us with an opportunity to share some of the latest knowledge and thinking about insects with people that might not otherwise get to hear about it. At Cap-a-Pie we always feel very privileged to work with academics – always excited, intrigued and fascinated by the new things they are discovering. To share this with others through theatre and creative arts is not only an exciting start point for a piece of theatre but also an obligation. If we understand why a praying mantis might wear 3D glasses then why shouldn’t everyone! If you’d like to find out why follow this link

I’m looking forward to a summer of insect fun and the prospect of a professional touring show made with a large and diverse creative team. I hope you can come along for a workshop or to see our work in progress showing at Ouseburn Farm.

Post Workshop Day 1 – Brad McCormick

So 11am rolled around and we were in the classroom at the Ouseburn Farm about to start. We had a group of potential insects with us, roughly 10-15 including grown-ups. So we set to work.

But just before we moved from a brief chat to getting on our feet, we had an influx of more participants. By the time it was 11.05am, 46 people were there! But our philosophy is the more insects the merrier and before long, a huge group of pretend praying mantises were swarming about the place and catching imaginary flies.

From a facilitation point-of-view, it’s really good to have the first workshop under the belt. After thinking about the workshops (and the show that will result from them) for some time, it’s a relief to get in the room and have a sense of how you might work in reality, which exercises bear fruit and which ones lose kid’s attention.

In real terms, we created two characters today (a praying mantis and a bee), gave them names and voices, met them individually and then collectively created a scene from scratch where the two meet each other on top of a flower.

Tomorrow we’ll turn our attention to dragonflies and ladybirds and see where the children’s imaginations take us.

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