In The Shadows Dark and Grimm took place this summer at The Hive in Shrewsbury. 8 young people, including three now new members to SYT joined workshop leader Lisa Morris and senior volunteer Chloe Townend for 3 and a half days of intensive creativity and tuition in shadow puppetry and performance.
The students used over-head projectors, stage lamps and torches, played against three sheets hung from The Hive rig, to create exciting and beautiful images based on the original fairy tales by The Brother’s Grimm. We discovered that these tales were somewhat darker than their common Disney and modern day interpretations, and so we used recorded music, live percussive sounds and Foley art to create our performance; a collection of scenes and images of some of the most iconic, darkest moments from Hansel and Gretel, Snow White, and Little Red Cap (Red Riding Hood).
Students delved right into the workshop, with material and ideas being created right up to the performance. We all discovered that the only limitation when working in shadow is your imagination, and there were lots of very ingenious uses of simple shapes, coloured gels and movement that, though seemingly quite basic in their execution, produced some wonderful scenes and some really exciting new ways of framing the space.
Our performers also demonstrated some real responsibility towards the work, with students becoming experts in lighting tricks, some fantastic musical arrangements and a couple of beautiful movement experts. Our group talents combined, and our desire to create excellent work overriding our preciousness towards the material, guaranteed our project was a huge success, and gave us a rewarding experience akin to working with a group of professional adults. Truth be told, it was one of the most exhilarating and creative experiences in a rehearsal space any of us had been involved in.
A big thank you goes to Maddy Page, who joined us on the last day to document the work, and to the friends and family who came to support us. We had a fantastic audience of all ages, and species (our first SYT show played to a dog!), and we look forward to next year’s summer school.
If you are interested in booking a shadow puppetry workshop for your school or community organisation, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We can tailor workshops to areas of the curriculum, or to community projects you are involved with.