One of the organisations we'd also like to visit when we eventually get to the UK to meet more established Sensory Theatre practitioners is the mob who make 'Bag Books' - the tactile storytelling aides that come with objects for PMLD kids to touch and interact with as a teacher/ EA tells a simple story that is "illustrated" by the kids getting to handle each item in the "bag". After having a play with one in the school's library, Bec & I were keen to sit in on a session and watch the kids being told a story with one. Needless to say, we jumped at the EA's (Roz) invitation to tackle a second bag book story with the same group and were hamming it up within minutes... The adults present were interested to note that the bag books seemed to be even more effective when led by two people(actually kind of tricky for one person to pass around the storycards and objects while referring to the text and instructions - alone). Also, we were instinctively more theatrical (surprise!) and maybe less locked into the explicitly tactile instructions that came with the book. EG: when the object card accompanying the text: "..When the wind picked up"was passed around, we also made a fan of wind with it to blow onto each kid (as opposed to them merely stroking the cotton wool cloud depicted on the card). The kids obviously enjoyed the more animated than usual session (they were an infamously "naughty"/mobile group who shall remain un-named!) which was proven by them being able to sit through a second 15 min bag-book story with us after already having heard the first story. Made me realise the value of MULTI-senspory - creating as many "narrative entrances"as possible ("touch"the wooly wind cloud AND "FEEL"the wind on your face etc ).
We are now working on our own "bag book" version of the Jub Jub Tree that might possibly accompany a prer-show resource kit for schools... It's interesting - and even a tad difficult - to work throught the kind of editorial choiuces to make when thinking about simple objects that non-performers could use effectively with kids outside the live-theatre version of our show... (more on our progress with this later).