Today sawing and banging could be heard coming from the Gulliver rehearsal room as Ian Teague, award winning theatre designer was busy working on his latest creation, a giant suitcase for a very big little girl.
Walking into the corridors i was greated by the mist of sawdust escaping from the room, and my heart filled with joy as I opened the door to an enormous wooden structure, big enough for Ross to walk into and to contain an array of giant goodies.
This project, funded by the Welcome Trust has created a real buzz around MakeBelieve Arts. Funding issues have meant that it has been two years since we have produced a theatre performance but this programme, although not a full blown production is definetly a step above your ordinary workshop.
Another day of Giant Tours – Science Rerhearsal today and I am so pleased with how it is all going. Having spent a lot of time worrying about the ethics of taking 60 children into the ear of a giant little girl, and giving them a chance to learn about her body from the inside, we have finally cracked the problem. We have begun creating a training programme for one of our crack team of giant experts, where he and the children get to explore a mock up of her body and meet all the exciting characters inside, and all of this as part of a practice run for when Ricky the Roady has to go inside her for real to unblock a blockage.
Filled with jokes about poo, and facts about keeping our bodies healthy, it is a very exciting workshop/performance and iI am so enjoying devising it.
And I have learnt masses in the process…
Did you know that our red blood cells only live for approxiamtely 120 days, (4 months). They do all this work, racing around our bodies, carrying oxygen from our lungs and and helping us get rid of CO2. And then after all this they head of to the spleem to die. Apparently the spleem is like the graveyard of the body.
And there are hard core killer cells patroling inside us, waiting for the white blood cells to call them so they can pounce on the vile viruses and beastly bugs.
Our bodies are amazing places and doing this project is giving me such an insight into all the exciting things that are happening in there that I have previously taken for granted.
Also it is such a rich source of story material.
Stories are incredible, because through them we can engage children in areas of learning far beyond the scientific areas specified for their particular age group. Thorough story we can gain greater understanding of complex ideas well beyond our years.
Having failed in both Maths and Science at school I am constantly amazed at how exciting and dynamic I find this work when we begin to shape these subjects into story form. If we truely are to turn around education and ‘raise standards’ as politicians continually demand, then story has to take center stage in our classrooms.
Ian Teague’s design model for Giant Tours
A larger version – The rehearsal model
Determined to get our science right, we decided to build a replica of a giant body on the floor using various materials and rehearsal props that we found lying around MakeBelieve Arts. Our first attempt, although colourful and inventive was anything but accurate.
'Colourful and inventive, and anything but accurate...'
Thankfully Dr Ranj was on hand to help us create a masking tape replica of a giants innards.
'Thankfully Dr Ranj was on hand...'
Last week was an exciting time in the MakeBelieve Arts rehearsal room as Trish, Ross and Alice were joined by award winning designer Ian Teague and resident doctor for the BBC, CBBC and Newsround, Dr Ranj. The week was spent mapping out the inside of a giants body, improvising various scenarios to discover the character of the Mademoiselle Liver – the body’s own chef, and discovering the story of the industrious red blood cells, speeding around our bodies to ensure our oxygen gets delivered. We had great fun recreating the covert white blood cells, security guards of our bodies, patroling the internal highways on the look out for bugs. The project, funded by the Wellcome Trust is currently booking, and will tour around schools in London throughout November.