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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...

viernes, 21 de septiembre de 2012

Making props: getting everyone involved!

This blog is essentially about the theatre workshops we run for kids in the Alpujarra mountains in southern Spain. The workshops themselves are all about helping the kids work as a team and encouraging them to see things through to the (bitter!) end; to see theatre as something they can relate to (and take part in) and to get them thinking visually and relating to music emotionally...

However, slowly over the years, a growing number of adults have been getting involved in the plays we put on. Many of them are parents of the kids taking part and others enjoy the plays we put on and just want to get involved. As far as I'm concerned, this is great news! It has made the whole project much more of a community thing - and it has opened people's eyes a bit to just how much work is involved behind the scenes (which is never a bad thing!).

So, prop making has become quite a social affair. We get together at the weekends during the six weeks of the workshop and mass produce props with impressive gusto. If you are planning a prop-making session with a group of volunteers, it's worth bearing a few things in mind:
  • not everyone considers themselves "artistic" (and can sometimes feel intimidated by the idea of getting "creative") so:
    • give clear instructions and think through strategies beforehand (stencils, pictures as examples etc.)
    • save the basic jobs (painting base coats, cutting, sticking) for these people
    • find creative ways of getting people involved (for example, someone may feel happier kicking a ball round with the kids outside, which is a great way of helping out but doesn't involve paint)
  • make an extensive list of props needed several days before the first workshop (this is your chance to make some serious progress with the props, so get the most out of your help!)
  • make sure you have enough scissors, paint brushes, hammers, glue... etc. for lots of volunteers to get involved
  • divide up the list into jobs and if you know who is coming, think about who can do which job
  • make sure you have all the necessary basic materials
  • it will help your "morale" considerably to feel you are making progress with the props, so use your prop sessions (and helpers!) to tackle the bigger (or more time consuming) projects (and save easy snipping jobs for in front of the telly!)
  • if your volunteers are bringing kids with them (as is often the case) think through some entertainment options - having pens and paper on hand will cut down on the number of extra volunteers pestering you to help (unless you are planning on getting the kids involved); a ball or hula hoops if there is an outside space; is there someone who would volunteer to help keep them occupied? -  and perhaps have a few teatime snacks to hand for later.

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