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We are a group of friends/parents that run a not-for-profit cultural association in Spain.
This is our (bilingual!) blog about our theatre workshops for kids...

miércoles, 7 de diciembre de 2011

Starting from scratch II. Getting into the mood

We're in the process of transforming the song "Ugly Bug Ball" into a children's stage play. Having already decided that the song might indeed be an interesting project for kids and that it has enough dramatic potential to inspire us, it's time to get a real feel for the possibilities it offers. We need to be really sure that this is the right project (as I said before, it's better, in the long run, to take the time to make the right decision, rather than embark on a play that runs out of steam further down the line).So now is the time to start defining the 'feel' of our future play

I do this with moodboards. I scour the internet, magazines, books... for images, colours, details that in some way represent something about the atmosphere that I'd like to achieve as a whole... or that give an idea of the feel of the costumes... or the staging.

In the case of  "The Ugly Bug Ball", I start by collecting all sorts of pictures of bugs in general as a starting point:

I choose the ones that 'talk' to me in some way - in this case, it soon becomes apparent that the vibrancy of the colours is going to be fundamental to my play - and I try to communicate this into a whole collage of other images that also show the same idea:

A moodboard is a very effective way to get the creative juices going and at the same time to pin down sensations, feelings and ideas that might otherwise be difficult to put into words. This makes them ideal if you're working in a team as it is a tangible way of communicating less than tangible concepts to other team members. They can also contribute to the process with their sensations and ideas. 
They're also a great way of expressing many concepts at once. My colour moodboard, for example, might represent the palate of colours I'd like to use across the production as a whole (in the set and costumes etc) but at the same time, it also manages to convey a sense of the 'explosion' of colour that I'd like to create and, in turn, communicates a sense of energy, vibrancy and dynamism that I'd like the play as a whole to present. It is starting to become clear that I'd like this play to be a 'carnival' of colours.

To help define the look of the costumes, again I turn first to nature:

And then try to represent the elements that have inspired me in a moodboard. In this case, I'm focusing on textures (silky sheens, fur, velvet) as well as the swirling, almost metallic patterns of petrol or tie dye:

Sites like are a great way to develop mood boards - collect all your inspiring images together and share the link with anyone else you are working with. They can also add their own images, comment on photos, and it gives everyone a common focus.

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