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Get Creative Summer Programme, Highlights

I began my summer university work placement with Theatre Peckham in July, where I have been involved in various tasks for organisation. One of the main projects I was assigned to was hosting and assisting the Get Creative Digital Summer Programme on Zoom. Through the 4 weeks, I have attended a wide variety of workshops that engage students in many different ways (and has led me to awkwardly dance to Rain on Me in my chair).

With the programme coming to an end this week, these are my highlights and recap of some of the workshops that I hosted.

‘ Emotions, Feelings, Identity’– Acting Workshop (12-16) and Spoken Identity Workshops

The Acting Workshop (12-16 ) came to its conclusion with the students performing monologues that were written by them, which express a particular emotion. With emotions ranging from anxiety to confusion to excitement, watching them build their context, audience, intensity levels throughout the monologue and working on feedback given by the tutor Jordan Benjamin has been an amazing experience. The exploration of embodying an experience in acting, whether it specifically belongs to you or not, has been a theme through the 4 weeks.

Spoken Identity Workshops ended with the performing of the group poems that both the age groups (12-16 and 16+) were working on for the past 4 weeks. The discussion of social life, gender, race, and sexuality  through the lens of identity was repeatedly dealt with nuance and honesty in an extremely supporting environment facilitated by Jayda David. While experiences and identities remain individual to a person, these group poems form a mosaic of different expressions of identity.

‘Characters, Creativity, Imagination’ – Acting Workshop (5-7), (12-16) and Musical Theatre Workshops

 The youngest group for the Musical Theatre Workshops are busy immersing themselves in the song Consider Yourself from Oliver! by learning the song and choreography led by Sharn Adela. In the meantime, the other two groups for the Musical Theatre Workshops have been working on their villainous characters that range from an evil mastermind to a trickster to a scheming, elusive character. With a villainous chorus composed by the tutor Ben Christopher, it is exciting to watch them come alive these characters.

Much like the villainous characters, the two younger groups for the Acting Workshop  were immersed constructing their own characters. The last sessions brought their characters to life with the tutor Mathijs Swarte  and other students asking questions to a character in the spotlight to find out more about them. From sharks that fight sea monsters to Batwoman fighting crime to a fox living inside walls, immersion in  their characters and imagination was the most engaging to observe.

‘Physical well-being, Dance, Movement’- Ballet, Tap, and Street Dance Workshops

Ballet, Tap and Street Dance Workshops have been keeping the students active and energetic as well as benefitting their mental well-being. The highlights in most of these sessions is always the freestyle that the students do before the start of the routines. Cartwheels during the freestyle are my definite favourites. Here are the list of songs that the students are dancing to, so feel free to add these to your playlist!

Tap Workshop (Beginner/Intermediate): 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton

Street Dance Workshop (5-7): Rain on Me by Ariana Grande and Lady Gaga and Feels by Calvin Harris ft Pharrell, Katy Perry and Big Sean

Street Dance Workshop (8-11): Better when I’m dancing by Megan Trainor

These workshops stand testament to the importance of the arts in the lives of young people and importance it played during the lockdown. It has been a pleasure supporting Theatre Peckham for this programme and bringing the arts to young people during this difficult time!

Janhavi Pradhan