Blog

A brand new Alive And Kicking tour begins

New from Alive And Kicking Theatre Company - The Woman at the top of the Mountain 
These were difficult and dangerous times and this was a difficult and dangerous country.
Opening next week - Phoebe Gann and John Mee with Year 3 children in Leeds schools.

Find out more by ringing 0113 265 8631

 

Company manager / Producer vacancy with Alive And Kicking

Alive and Kicking Theatre Company are looking for a freelance Company Manager/Producer for up to two days a week. Go to the Get Involved page on this website  and then on to Vacancies for details.

Helping raise funds without you paying anything!

Hi  Here’s a piece of reverse nepotism! As promised   ….. these lovely boys’ dad has got a special surprise lined up for all Alive And Kicking Theatre Company Bolg followers. It’s a way of making money for Alive And Kicking without having to put your hand in your pocket …. Simply sign up for easyfundraising and you will earn £5 for Alive And Kicking.
In the message below from my generous and good looking relative (it runs in the family!) you find what you have could do very easily and if you do please email me to let me know you have!
Here’s what the man has on offer …..
I'm Tristan, one of John's distant relatives and a fellow blog follower This is my brief profile: a bit about me, people that inspire me and, finally, how you can help me to help Alive And Kicking.
 
If John represents art and beauty in his work, then maybe I am more akin to the beast! I work in Public Health, where the focus is on prevention of illness before it happens rather than cure once it has taken hold. A couple of examples of Public Health in action are childhood vaccinations and the recent Ebola outbreak control (our work extends globally). Before this job I was a paramedic and I intend to remain in the health sector. Partly because of my work, but also because I enjoy it, I cycle 150 miles to work every week.
 
I am continually inspired by my amazing wife and two young children – you’ll see them in the pic - Jed turns two next month and Heath is nearly two months old. I also draw inspiration from people and organisations who do good things for others. One such organisation is AAK. Having listened to John talk about the company over the years I am struck by the positive impact AAK has on the lives of people they work with. Based on this, I believe AAK are a charity worth supporting.
 
I have been meaning to sign up to the easyfundraising website for a while but something always gets in the way. I finally got around to it recently and have been impressed with how easy the setup is. It took less than a minute to sign up (name and email is all you need, plus address if you want to use GiftAid). When buying something the only difference is that you click a link on the easyfundraising website which redirects you to the website you want - everything else is exactly the same. The scheme covers pretty much every website that I use for big and small purchases: Amazon, John Lewis, Tesco, Ocado, even confused.com for buying the car insurance.
 
As an incentive for anyone who can't find the time to sign up, I will donate £5 for a limited period of time!!!! for every single person who joins easyfundraising on behalf of AAK. So you can raise £5 without having to even buy anything! The link you need is
https://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/causes/aliveandkickingtheatrecompany/
 

Watch out ...

These lovely boys’ dad, who is quite lovely himself, has got a special surprise lined up for all Alive And Kicking Theatre Company Blog visitors. Watch this space to find out ….
John

A word from Melvin - quite a lovely few!

This time it's a view of Alive And Kicking from our other patron Melvin Burgess who has recently visited and worked with us in school .... 
 
I’ll be honest – it’s not easy to put your finger on what it is that makes an Alive and Kicking event so special. It is special – there’s no doubt about that. When kids who’ve been closed up like clams for most of their school lives suddenly come to life, at the same time as kids who have enjoyed school emerge claiming that that was THE BEST day they’ve ever spent, something is going on. But what, exactly?
 
It’s educational, certainly – there’s a lot of information put out during an Alive and Kicking event. It’s fun, too, which is a wonderful thing, because a lot of learning is hard work and not always pleasant. Emphasising learning points with jokes, or drama is a clever and very engaging way of getting across new ideas and driving known ones home.
 
Alive and Kicking make no distinction between play and learning. That’s a tricky thing to pull off, but at the end of it, students haven’t just learned more, they haven’t just enjoyed learning more – they know more about how to learn as well. It’s like the old adage – give a man a fish and he can eat for day. Teach him how to fish and he can feed himself for life. Alive and Kicking events can equip young people with new ways into learning that can lead them .. well! Who knows where?
 
It’s interactive, that’s another thing. A lot of organisations claim to be interactive, but all that usually means is giving people a chance to talk to the creators about their product and how it was made. Alive and Kicking is the real thing, Students are drawn into the creation and performance of a piece, they make real decisions and choices in terms of writing, development and performance.
 
In a world where all of us, but children in particular, are often at the mercy of learning rather than actively involved in it, that’s an increasingly rare thing. It can help young people understand the value of learning, and to develop the love of learning. In other words, it can help make learners for life.
 
It promotes understanding – that could be a part of it, too. During the course of an Alive and Kicking experience, young people are taken on a journey through all sorts of complex social and personal issues as the drama moves on. We all know fictions can do this – there’s been endless work on how dealing in such abstract and relative issues such as relationships, loyalty, agreement and disagreement, which are imbedded in these dramas, encourage and develop abstract thought. Interactive involvement strengthens that beyond measure. There’s no substitute for doing it yourself.
 
Or perhaps it’s because these events are so empowering. At the end of an Alive and Kicking experience, the students haven’t just learned, haven’t just grown a little wiser as well as little bit more knowledgeable – they’ve fought Romans and Gauls, conquered Vikings, freed princesses and Kings, worked out right from wrong, understood different points of view; they’ve been heroes and villains, they’ve supported one another and overcome impossible odds. They’ve not just read about these things, or watched other people doing them – they’ve done them all themselves. No wonder they’re inspired – no wonder they have ideas coming out of their ears.
 
What can I say? And I’m completely delighted to be a patron of such a wonderful thing.
 
Melvin Burgess

A view from our patron, Trish Cooke

As promised here's what Trish Cooke, one of our patrons, says about Alive And Kicking ......
"An Alive and Kicking experience is something every child should get the opportunity to enjoy. From the moment the show begins, the children are hooked. The actors cleverly welcome the children into their world and set the storytelling convention, which the children grasp immediately as they play their roles accordingly, guided by the actors. The interaction and participation by the children appears like a massive improvisation but I know the story has been crafted with a sturdy structure to withstand the opportunities the children are given to create within the story. And create they do! With their choices and decisions driving the story along.
 

The day (with Crowheart our Year 4/5/6/ piece) is long and full and yet it goes quickly. The breaks are placed in exactly the right places, with the children left wanting more each time we stop. After a short break they come back refreshed and ready for the next section.
 
So what is it the children do? They listen, they watch, they become characters, they work together to solve problems, they make choices. At one point the children are working out survival plans at their desks with a map and at another they are in the hall acting out and working out the significance of mythological stories and dreams. Above all, the children learn and not just historical facts. The children go on an emotional journey where they have to answer questions (that don’t always have clear cut answers) and they have to make important decisions too. The whole thing is an amazing experience! It is my pleasure to be a patron of Alive and Kicking."
 
Trish Cooke is a writer, dramatist, presenter and actor. She is renowned for her brilliant stories for young children.

 

Our big news ....

 
We are proud to announce that we have acquired two patrons, two supporters of our work in schools and the community. 
 
They are Trish Cooke and Melvin Burgess.
 
Quite apart from being renowned authors and playwrights who, between them, create work for children of all ages, they share a complete understanding of the work we do. Both spend time in schools sharing and learning with children. Both are honest, clear, direct writers who never patronise. Both understand the importance of play, the importance of celebrating children’s creativity and giving them confidence. Both are listeners and empathisers as well as creators! We couldn’t ask for two more suitable patrons. Words from them both will be blogged soon! Meanwhile here’s their lovely faces!

On the road again - The Museum Of Untold Stories

Here’s a pic of Phoebe Gann in The Museum Of Untold Stories and here's what they thought of The Museum Of Untold Stories in Bradford Newby Primary…..
 

"We loved having you and look forward to seeing you again next year!
The children were inspired to write not only the stories they created with you but also stories belonging to other objects that had lost their stories. Their enthusiasm and knowledge of the stories allowed them to showcase their punctuation, vocabulary and grammar skills, resulting in high quality writing from children of all abilities. The work with you inspired the children so that they only wanted to produce high quality stories to add to your museum."

 

Charles Brown rides again

Some of you will remember Alive And Kicking's Charles Brown from the Foreign Office who gets in all sorts of scrapes only to be rescued by the children of Leeds. Here's a blast from his past in the company of Carry Franklin's Ambassador from the magical isle of Lyonesse.

Just lately Charles has been at it again. This time in the company of Anthony Haddon as the Marvellous Monarch from Monrovia. The pic is of Ant before he costumes up!
If you would like your youngest children to meet Charles and the Marvellous Monarch ring 0113 265 8631.

 

Snowy, mizzly and drizzly but .....

Hello
 
Snowy, mizzly and drizzly but ……
 
Luke Dickson and Phoebe Gann have rehearsed and toured The Museum of Untold Stories since the last AAKBlog. They have been off to Bradford and Hawksworth Wood in Leeds. 
Phoebe takes the role of Nancy Cauldron, a Victorian urchin turned pirate story teller.
In other news we’ve had a great time performing Crowheart, Lighthouse Island and The Bottom Of The Sea with fantastic results and writing from the children; we’ll be right back at it in February and March. There are still dates free for the tours so please pass on our details if you know of a school that could benefit from a Roman/Celtic adventure, a community to build after Mother Nature strikes at their heart, or a deep sea swim!

Finally from Luke; a big thank you from me to Alive and Kicking for letting the Kirkstall flood volunteer group make use of the company van as we set about getting businesses back on their feet again this last month. It has been hard work but very rewarding and contributions like the use of a van have been invaluable.
 
Here they are in MoUS

 

Pages