Rehearsals are well underway for the Starlit Summer Workshop Programme at Kellett, Kowloon Bay. Students aged from 5-8 years old are rehearsing a production called Lally and The Firebird. Jan Brink, the director of the production, began the process by teaching the students basic stage techniques, such as “Blocking”, (stage right, upstage etc.), finding their characters and vocal techniques (how to project, and change their voice to suit their character). Students also got to learn about stage design and had fun creating and designing their set. Pictures were made, to represent a labratory, and props of insects were designed by the students for one of the characters to feed to another character. By doing this, the students were able to fully immerse themselves in the experience, while learning more about what goes into putting a show together. As the students began to polish and tweak their performance, they also began making suggestions of their own accord on how to make the show look better. This directly came from empowering them to take ownership of what they were doing.
Choreographer Tiffany Leung has also been working closely with the students on their movement. Several students were playing birds in the show and Tiffany spent time working with them on their physicality and how to move like a bird. The students also enjoyed learning some fight choreography.
“Movement in theatre allows kids to explore different possibilities to express themselves regardless of any language barrier.” Tiffany explains, “It inspires their creativity, and for them to think outside the box and not be constrained by norms and standard rules of the way we move our body.”
Each day the students begin the workshop by doing a physical and vocal warm up as well as playing drama games. One game called “New Choice” is all about students learning to improvise without a script and come up with new ideas. When Jan questioned the students about how this game could help them with their performance, the students recognised that if things went wrong, then they may need to improvise. Learning key skills like this are tools that the students will take away from the workshop and be able to apply in other life situations.
The students are now working towards, their Friday performance when they will get to perform their play in front of an enthusiastic audience. Director Jan is looking forward to seeing the students have the opportunity to showcase all of their hard work. “Drama is a great way for students to learn, not just about characters, but about themselves.” He explains, “It’s a fun, safe way for children to explore their own thoughts and feelings, delve into their own potential and push themselves to reach a deeper understanding of who they are.”
Starlit Voice runs regular Holiday workshops across Hong Kong. For more info on classes and courses like this, please don’t hesitate to contact us!