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It was great that all four of us could do this together, allowing for sufficient support in the hands on aspect of interacting with the tactile elements such as dirt, water and seeds, while having live music as a means of holding the energy of the activity, and keeping the puppets animated and present.  Again, it was great to see all the kids seem to recognize us and have a sense of familiarity with us and the puppets now- most of the resistance to touching the puppets has dissolved, and the weekly repetition on the animal songs is also beginning to have effect.  This should be enhanced by the recordings each or the 5 teachers now have.  Our residency finally feels like it is starting to take shape, relationships are building with both the students and the staff. The initial formality and distance between us and the staff is beginning to break down, and our confidence with interacting with the students continually grows. 

At times I feel concerned that we are not effectively exploring  brave new ways of sensory engagement with the children, that we are not breaking new ground,  that what we do with the children are all things they have all experienced before in one form or another.  But I am beginning to understand that this process is about laying a foundation of deeper understanding  of how to effectively engage these children.  We are not sensory theatre experts (yet), we are fledglings finding our way in new territory, cerebral beings learning (on a very steep curve) about experiencing the world in a physical way.  Nor are we disability experts; relative to the teachers and EA’s, our hands on experience is limited, and our education in this field is just beginning.  So this process is about gaining the experience and understanding necessary to make informed choices as theatre makers and performers, for how to most effectively engage our audience, whatever their physical and intellectual capacity.  And we are doing our best!

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