Edinburgh Fringe 2013
Drama Workshops for 5 – 12 year olds.
Spotlites Theatre Productions
Venue: Spotlites @The Merchant Hall
Spotlites, as well as their full theatre programme for children and Adults, offer these drop in workshops for children throughout the Fringe Festival. My 9 year old son attended these last year (see review http://www.fringereview.co.uk/fringeReview/5006.html) and it’s testament to how much he enjoyed them that he was keen to attend them this year. The staff are all CRB checked and children are dropped off and left with them and they are very security conscious. The workshops are 1 hour long, starting at 10am, which is enough time for a quiet coffee in a local café or a stroll through the beautiful park nearby and enjoy some well earned adult time.
So far this 9 year old Wizard reviewer has attended;
– Avengers (Join Iron Man, Captain America and Hulk to stop Loki’s evil plan!) – Tuesday 6th August 2013
– Clone Wars (Save the Galaxy!) – Thursday 8th August 2013
– Harry Potter Wizard School (Quidditch, Defence Against the Dark Arts, Potions & Duelling!) – Monday 12th August 2013
When asked to rate them he gave them all "5 stars", and has enjoyed them so much that he wants to go to the Scooby Do workshop tomorrow (Join Mystery Inc. Catch the spooky ghosts! ).This makes it this year with FringeReview’s alternative ratings to stars – Outstanding.
As a parent I like that these workshops get children involved in theatre, whatever their experience and are a nice antedote to the very busy Fringe. My son is quite shy and usually reticent about joining in any sort of public performance but this has given him noticeably more confidence in himself – so much so that he jumped up on stage last night for audience participation in a magic show. These drama workshops are non-threatening because they don’t seem to try and push children into ‘performance’, it’s more about awakening their own natural ability to make believe and play in a fun way. No special effects or computers or projections needed!
Drama workshop Diary
My son gave this 5 stars because they "got to be super heroes and they could make up their own or be a well-known one". They could do this on his own or with someone else.
My son chose someone to work with, and told me he initiated this. Being a little shy at times, especially with new people, this suggested to me that he felt safe in this group and that the facilitators were holding the space well.
They were told funny stories and shown how to play act fight, which my son loved and he said really liked the actors running the group. He came out with a smile on his face and had the look of a little confidence gained, as a mother it’s clear very quickly whether your child’s experience was positive or not. He asked immediately for a drink when he came out…superhero fighting is thirsty work!!
Clone wars “5 Stars”
He told me this one got 5 stars because of the play fighting and making up weapons. He tells me it started with a story and then they were told they were going to all be Storm troopers on a mission. Once they had mastered these skills they then made up weapons to go on a harder mission and then ‘fight’ each other (all in good fun). They were put into two groups, one in a swamp and from what my son told me in fragments there was (imaginary) Parachuting, Fighting droids including a massive droid “big as a restaurant”. But all was ok because “everyone killed it together”. He was particularly proud of his weapon he used (again imaginary) which was a flame thrower and he could shoot massive fire balls.
Harry potter – “5 stars” – And his favourite one so far.
He told me after this that the time goes fast, “It doesn’t feel like one hour, more like 20 minutes”. The workshop leader started with funny stories about spells and magic thumbs…Then they practised their Wand fighting doing made up spells, did potions making and defence against dark arts and general magical wizarding practice….again he came out hungry and thirsty!
He really likes the actors who run the workshops – who incidently are in the children’s plays on at The Spotlites (Curse of Pharaoh’s Tomb and Rapunzel..May the Force be With You!) – they seem very gentle and friendly with the children.
Overall the quality was high, the workshops run professionally and the children’s safety and well-being a priority. They had fun, learnt new skills and felt safe to explore what it felt like to be super heroes and Storm troopers and Wizards…taking well known film and TV characters off the screen and into their imaginations.