Wings

OSO Arts Centre, London, January 2019

British Council School, Madrid, February 2019

Company - Barricade Arts

Writers - Jonny Danciger, Joseph Clayton, Hannah Marsters, Rosa Garland, Harry Lukakis, Max Cadman, Elizabeth Macgregor Mason

Wings was a 60-minute devised piece aimed at years 4-7, inspired by Skellig and A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings. It followed the story of Joy - a shy girl living in a lighthouse - who is struggling to participate at school. During a storm, a mysterious and grumpy bird-like creature crashes into her room. Joy strikes up an unlikely friendship, and develops her own confidence and individuality as a chaotic series of events unfolds, including having to rescue the bird from an evil carnival and sailing a ship for the first time. 

We aimed to create a lively and imaginative world through the use of 'found objects', creating the creature through a couple of broom handles, some material, and physical choreography. The piece was highly interactive, with the children encouraged to participate in world-building (such as shaking a tarpaulin to create a storm).

In Spain, we extended the production to include a 45-minute workshop in the middle, in which the children learned skills (musical, physical, literary) which were later used in the carnival breakout scene. Music and sound played a key role.

 

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"An incredibly dynamic and thought-provoking experience for my class and myself!"

"The Barricade Arts performance of 'Wings' was excellent. Our children loved the music, sound effects and staging - they've never seen theatre like it before. The workshop was great fun and got the kids even more stuck in to the story. Fantastic performance. Thank you!!"

Feedback from teachers at the British Council School, Madrid.

Lord of the Flies

OSO Arts Centre, London, January 2019

British Council School, Madrid, February 2019

Company - Barricade Arts

Sound/Lighting - Jonny Danciger

 

This dramatic performance of Lord of the Flies by the Barricade Arts Theatre in Education actors is certainly high impact. This small cast of actors is versatile, capable of playing multiple roles on a simple, representational set, sing and play instruments. They are also successful in exploiting the script through their carefully studied and thoughtful portrayal of characters, enabling an audience to see the effect of actions upon others. 

The opening scene is highly imaginative. With just a few sticks, flashing lights and sound effects and well thought out choreography, the actors were able to simulate the shape of an aircraft being shot at and crashing onto an island.

Jonny Danciger as director and composer succeeds in bringing this story of Lord of the Flies very much alive. The tension is palpable, and it moves at a good pace which slows when important issues are highlighted. The director’s and actors’ interpretation of this story very much fits the modern world. It is a sobering thought to realise how quickly rules of society and the veneer of socialisation can break down, leading to anarchy and violence when conflict cannot be settled through rational debate and discussion.

- Celia Bard, Mark Aspen Reviews

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Animal Farm

British Council School in Madrid,

January 2018

Company - Barricade Arts

The inaugural production of the Barricade Arts International Education Tour saw us adapt Orwell's classic in comic and fast-paced production drawing from Brechtian practice. The story was presented by a group of 'children' living on a farmyard, playing out the roles of animals with farmyard objects. Plungers became horses hooves, springs were used as pigs tails, mops as sheep's heads and red rubber gloves as chicken plumes. These objects could then be thrown about with brutal abandon, allowing moments of violence to be powerfully insinuated rather than realistically displayed. 

Physical choreography and music played an important role in this production. As part of our residence, we ran workshops with drama GCSE students.

The performance combined acting and live music with immersive sound technology. It was a real treat, an exciting and contemporary version of “Animal Farm”, in front of a most appreciative School theatre audience. All in all, a magnificent production, which gave our students much to think about.

- A teacher at the British Council School

Kensuke's Kingdom

Barnes Children's Literature Festival, 2019

Company - Barricade Arts

This R&D event for the Barnes Children's Literature festival combined our 'found object' production style and our children's theatre workshops into a single event. The children were cast as monkeys on the island, and took part in activities which would later prove crucial to the plot. For example, helping Kensuke paint the cherry tree for Michael, learning crucial survival techniques, and singing a song to help reunite lost friends. With the hunters invading the island, the children were invited to invade the stage, hiding with the actors. This direct involvement gave the children a heightened personal stake in the lives of the characters.

Animals were created by treating found objects as puppets. Kikambo the orangutan was created out of Michael's discarded rucksack, and Stella the dog was created out of some loose material from the ship's mast.