• Grace Williams

It's panto season! (oh no it isn't...)

As we rapidly approach the season of panto, I couldn't help but think back to last year's Movement workshops with Hijinx Drama Foundations.

Hijinx Drama Foundations group had been working on their Christmas pantomime ‘Aladdin, and I joined them in the second phase of their rehearsals to work as a movement facilitator.

Aladdin’s cave was a particularly interesting and enjoyable area of exploration for the group. We began by discussing what a cave was, what we might find within one, and how we might feel if inside a cave. The group brought forward ideas of this environment being ‘dark’, ‘cold’, ‘wet’ ‘full of stone’ and ‘spooky’. We then experimented with how we might create some of these elements with our bodies. Working individually and in groups, students made physical shapes of rocks and ice. Building on this exploration, the group were supported in creating a cave environment to place these ideas. We used plastic, fabric and stands as the cave walls and sheets of thick ice. Building on sensory work from a previous session exploring light, we shared torches with the students to experiment with how shadows enhanced the dynamic of their shapes. We then explored their work through improvisation. With the help of sound effects, we imagined ourselves within the cave. The group held different ‘rock’ positions as the cave was entered by an explorer. As the explorer trod a small winding path through the cave the rocks would momentarily come to life as light was shone upon them – this incorporated our ideas around magicality. After the break we built upon the concept of magic, and explored working with shadows in greater detail. As they were backlit, the students gradually approached the sheet before finding their positions, then slowly moved away again. Before lunch we established how this movement was incorporated into the script; gaining understanding of where the movement would begin and end around their lines.

Each session concluded with a relaxation period; getting away from movement specific to the piece and towards connection to the body. Students followed a series of gentle stretches and repeated sequences to soft music.

It was so. Much. Fun. I can't wait for what his year's panto brings!

#HijinxNorth #panto #movement

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