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Workshops and City Final Show

The Brave Kids Project can be divided into two stages.

The culmination of the first stage, which lasts ca. two weeks simultaneously in several cities, is a collaborative City Final Show created by children, and based on the artistic material representing their cultures and artistic talents. The second stage of around 1.5-2 weeks ends with a preparation of a brand new performance: the Brave Kids Grand Finale based on the City Final Shows. Creating a COMMON PERFORMANCE is the practical and artistic aim of Brave Kids Project.

What is stage one?

The first stage of the Brave Kids project takes place parallelly in several cities and ends with a show of the Final Performances created jointly by the children. Four children artistic groups meet in each city. Each group is composed of ca. six kids. The entire Brave Kids group has about 24 members. Children participate in artistic workshops facilitated by professional artistic instructors and carried out according to the “kids teach kids” philosophy.

At this stage children are hosted by local "host families".

City Final Shows: show what you brought

Each group is asked to prepare a short, ten-minute, initial performance that represents their culture, country, community or kind of art that they perform. The songs, dances, and other elements they present become the raw material for children to teach and learn from each other. Throughout this dynamic process of exchange, kids create a collaborative City Final Show that is presented as the culmination of the first stage in each city.

This means that the main base material for building the performance (first and second stage) is formed of elements of the initial shows that the groups have brought with them. These elements may be extremely different in type (dance, theatre, circus, music) and quality. You will have to choose which elements are most interesting, which are easiest for everyone to learn, which you want to show as solo and which you will have to develop.

In other words we assume that the main content of the show are the skills, talents, elements of culture and ideas represented by the kids. Therefore we try to find and highlight elements contributed by the kids, rather than to impose our own ideas.

Workshops

In Brave Kids Project we work with participants using the workshop model. There is a lot of various exercises and games useful in working with kids and groups. Each of our instructors know them well and each of them has developed his own set of best practices. There is no need to implement all of them. These are easy to find in printed and online resources. However, we would like to concentrate on different aspects, particularly important while working in multicultural groups.

 

In STAGE I of the Brave Kids Project (few smaller groups in different cities) we concentrate on the following:

  • meeting each other  - using various games, exercises and presentations
  • drafting a common contract - oriented on our common aim
  • familiarization and integration (building a team) - again games, but also focusing on our common aim, explaining what’s ahead and motivating to work
  • sharing work tools  - this part prepares kids for further teaching – using really simple examples, we present how to show, how to communicate without language and create particular elements of the performance
  • exchange of skills (kids teach kids)  - teaching each other cultural and artistic material
  • designing scenes - by this we mean connecting different artistic elements and creating choreography, as well as putting it on paper as sketches.
  • creating a performance - deciding (as much as possible with Kids) about the order of scenes
  • practising and development
  • performance

First steps

First steps of Brave Kids working process is simply a meeting. We always try to create a friendly atmosphere while introducing ourselves, other participants and the purpose of the project:

  • we introduce ourselves
  • we create a situation for everybody to introduce themselves (applies only to the 1st stage of work)
  • we explain what we are doing here and what’s the purpose of the project (group leaders help with translation)
  •  we ask the participants what they think and how they feel (group leaders help with translation)
  •  we encourage participants to ask questions and try to answer them (group leaders help with translation)
  •  introduce the common aim (making common performance) -  we make sure everybody understands it and try to ensure that this is a truly joint undertaking! (group leaders help with translation)

The contract

Before you start to work with the group it's good to introduce and agree some basic rules of work. We do this at the beginning of workshops by drafting a ‘contract’ that describes how we want to work together. (we list contract concerns for both stages of work, but the contract is usually drafted only in the 1st stage). It’s also possible to work without a contract. In the end it’s up to you, whether you decide you need the contract or not for your particular group.

Examples

Rules concerning the workspace and safety:

  • no shoes - we walk barefoot
  • no eating in the workspace – you can eat during the breaks outside
  • no sweet drinks in the workspace - only water

Rules concerning work and mutual respect:

  • help each other – don't disturb
  • support each other – don't mock others
  • do not touch things which are not yours without asking
  • no phones
  • no violence

Tips

For leading the workshop

As an artistic instructor:

As an artistic instructor:

Ask participants how they imagine common work and what rules they would like to introduce. How do they want to feel while working? How do they want to interact with and be treated by other participants?

 

While watching initial performances take notes thinking of:

  • which scenes you like the most (which scenes have the highest artistic value)
  • which scenes are easy and which are difficult
  • what are the potential types of scenes (big scene, small scene, solo, supporting action, etc)
  • which group is not ready with the material

Then - as much as possible - discuss your opinions with participants.

Performance structure building:

  • think about how to start the performance and how to finish it. The start will draw the idea of your performance, the ending will form a punchline of your show
  • balance the structure - try to mix high energy scenes with quieter ones, and  big scenes with smaller ones.
  • Ensure a smooth flow of the show - try to avoid “holes” in the action, let the scenes happen immediately one after another - you can use transitions for this purpose

 

Flip chart  is a very useful tool when the performance is build. You can use it to create the storyboard of the show by drawing different scenes and transitions and show them to the kids. Drawing different elements of the performance is a crucial tool both for arranging the scenes and communication - schematic pictures are easy to understand for all participants, no matter what language they speak.

How to make the contract:

Common aim - Contract should be created in reference to the common aim – COMMON PERFORMANCE.

Positive approach - avoid referring to punishment or sanctions, because these two threats are against the underlying rules. Words like can, may and desirable replace all musts and oughts. They provide a basis for reminding people about their agreements.

Short theatrical scenes - you can introduce a subject with short theatrical scenes. Divide participants in smaller groups with kids from different countries. Give them few minutes to prepare short scene about the subject. Then present it to each other.

Write and draw - we write down on the flip chart all the 'rules' we've agreed with the participants.  If everybody can read and write you can ask each group to write it down in their language. We sometimes make drawings representing each rule

Signature - If we are sure everybody understood and agreed on all rules we ask participants to sign it (we sign it, too). We sign it by affixing our signatures but sometimes also ask participants to make hand-print with colour paint; a finger print could also be a good idea.

Exceptions - If you set the rule 'no smart phones' you must explain why there is an exception: us - instructors will keep them -  as we should have it in case of emergency, to play music, to control time, etc.

What if someone breaks ‘contract rules’, e.g. by being violent

We have different approaches: sometimes we pretend we don’t notice it - if that looks like fun or a cultural way of releasing additional energy. Sometimes we need help from group leaders: behaviour is a frequent problem, we need to understand what is going on if a kid just needs extra attention, has some personality problems or there is a conflict etc. We need translation for serious talks

  • find out why - don't blame kids - (when you see someone breaking a contract rule, first of all try to find out reason. Usually, behaviours are well justified.)
  • refer to the contract
  • refer to the aim

Ask yourself...

  1. What’s your aim when leading workshops for kids and youth?
  2. Why do you need a contract with participants? Can you stick to its rules
  3. Have you ever tried mixing different cultural and artistic material into one element? In what way could it be difficult for you? In what way it’s interesting?

Contact us

Address

Song of the Goat Theatre Association / Brave Kids

ul. Purkyniego 1
50-155 Wrocław, Poland
NIP 899-23-31-660
KRS 000108979

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