A visit to Artemis

This Thursday, Martin and I took a look around Artemis, the fantastic collection of around 10,000 objects that are available on loan to Leeds schools to support classroom teaching and learning. Artemis is based in an enormouse warehouse down by the canal in the city centre - surrounded by old garages and lock-ups. Inside it is a treasure trove of wonderment. Object and artefacts, sculptures and paintings piled high - each with a story to tell. We plan to access the collection as part of our new project, the Museum of Untold Stories. The visit has inspired us both and we left the warehouse buzzing with ideas. Thanks so much to Jane for making us so welcome. 

Dungeon Soundscapes at Calverley Parkside

Even the slamming door and the howling wind and rain beating against the hall windows couldn't dampen the spine chilling soundscapes created by Mr Bayly's class. Hairs rising on the backs of our necks, eyes firmly shut (well nearly everyone's eyes!), and Gwyneth slowly creeping towards the spell book - all these as we explored the 600 year old story of Gawain and The Green Knight in our own special way!
And as for the dance with Lady Bertelak and the tales that Gawain told her .... !!!

St Philip's Year 6

Hello all at St P's Year 6. Great ceremony of goodbyes to Gawain and Gareth before they set off on their search for the Green Knight. I'm looking forward to reading your adventures for them as they travel through the hostile lands on the way to the Green Chapel. And what great tricks you invented for the Choirboy from Hell. Your faces were terrific. 
A message for you from noble King Arthur, that good looking, intelligent, friendly, exciting to be with King of Camelot. Bow lower and blow the trumpets in unison next time or else!

Calverley Parkside

Great lunch, (chicken curry for me, salmon bites for Carry and meatballs (what else!) for Peter, after a full morning's Gawain with Mr Bayly's class. Good to be back at Calverley Parkside after a break of two years - break being an interesting choice of words after what Mrs Duncalf has done to her wrist. And what I nearly did when I tripped in front of the unicorn as he came towards me as I became Gawain. Became Gawain - I like that. I landed in an interesting place!
Year five's imagination and participation was really good as was their focus on preparing the adventures of Gawain and his squire Gareth (for those of you who don't know - he is really a girl called Gwyneth but more of that as we go along).
And I found a handy parking spot to unload The Green Knight - strange looks from neighbours of the school as we carried in our giant puppet ready to challenge King Arthur to a beheading match. The sketches of settings for the adventures and word collections should be appearing on the children's pages before too long so I'm looking forward to seeing those and to returning next week.
Yes it was my gluteus maximus!

Lunchtime at Hob Moor Primary

In the lunch queue at Hob Moor this week Carry and I were welcomed by lots of small, smaller and bigger children all wanting to natter about everything, all at once and all with great urgency. My ears buzzed as we sat eating roast chicken (9/10) and can't remember afters (0/10 for my memory). A real sense of children enjoying being together. Great times Hob Moor and all the patient dinner ladies and that young man (only one) serving behind the counter. We came out of lunch feeling very different from when we went in.
We were joined in Gawain by children from Hob Moor Oaks as well as Year 5 from the primary and the mix of children with a whole load of different needs (a bit like Carry and me!) produced yet another version of the piece. The children wait really well for each other and the playing of Gawain took on a new pace to reflect that. Thanks to the staff for the support as always.
Whoops forgot to pay for our lunches! Just remembered. Will do next time - Peter should be back volunteering with us then. Hooray. And look out Calverley Parkside - we'll be with you next week.

IT man

Mike at Rural Creative is a master of all things IT. He has even helped me with sorting out my email signature so that the website address should be live in all my Alive And Kicking emails. 
Here's the ad  .... if you are looking for IT expertise go to Mike Harding at Rural Creative - he's the man.
What else - oh the dark evenings creeping in. A day full of contacting schools for bookings and great feedback from the head at Pudsey Tyersal Primary who wants The Museum Of Untold Stories next summer. We measured his school hall over the phone and so it's on to the design package - an installation in which we will find the Museum's curator and lots of strange objects - all waiting for young minds to explore narrative, culture, language, action, tension, dilemma - all the thinks whoops things ... no thinks is good! that A&K are well-known for.


Through the mist in the Vale Of York this morning without Uncle Peter - must remember to check that the schedule gets updated as we go along. Whoops Uncle Peter was still in his dressing gown when Carry rang so we struggled on without our most loyal of volunteers. The children of the Zippy Zebras sent their best wishes to you Peter and we met the teachers of the next two classes we will be working with at Hob Moor Primary.
Carry has a much better memory for how the space should be laid out than I have and I spent ages trying to persuade her that her memory was nowhere near as good as mine. Of course the children confirmed that she was right and that I was getting memory fade on these autumn mornings.
Every time we go past the Dogs Trust building on the A64 we are so tempted to go in and get one but Carry is contenting herself with a new fish for Shula's tank. Shula, Carry's daughter, has run her primary school eyes over the Gawain Resource Pack (examples elsewhere on this website) and she thinks it's great.
Really helpful Board of Advisors meeting last night - thanks to you all for running your eyes over our plans for the brand new show scheduled for Summer 2012 - the Museum Of Untold Stories. Watch this website for more information. 
Am about to continue chasing schools for bookings for Gawain and The Green Knight and Granny's Underground Garden so will let you know how I get on. We are available with these projects up to and just beyond Easter but only on selected dates in case you'd like us to visit you!

Gawain at Hob Moor

We’ve already had a chance to explore the new website with Year 5/6 at Hob Moor Primary School in York – the Zippy Zebras. We are there working Gawain and The Green Knight with three groups of the older children and their teachers over the next month or so. Hob Moor is a great place to take our work for all sorts of reasons and we had a smashing moment at lunchtime last Wednesday.....
 ……… young man from Zippy Zebras writing during his lunch to prepare a  story for King Arthur, looks up and sees Peter, Carry and myself coming towards him, shows us his writing and asks us how he could do the work that we do! It was like having the class in the company already as we been lucky enough to work with them on lots of occasions. Two girls scripted, rehearsed and prepared a play for Arthur who was suitably impressed before he went off into one of his sulks again. This King Arthur deserves all he gets from Morgan le Fay.   
How brilliant it is to have that contact with the children so that they are in the show almost before we have begun, and to have the confidence of school management to invite us to return over a period of time.
Then - young lady standing alongside him leans in and listens to me telling the young man about my primary teacher starting it all off for me and she says, "Is this your life's love then?" !!!! 
Great feeling!

A very warm welcome...

And now before your very eyes in true Alive And Kicking Theatre Company tradition …. A big warm welcome to our blog.

As big and as warm as you like it! Here we are reveling in what we are putting before the web world. And we’d like you to tell us what you think. Steady now!
Making a website update (we’ve been meaning to do that for some time) is quite an undertaking, especially when sorting the Green Knight so he can get into the back of the car, sending out the brand new fabulous resource pack, contacting teachers to find out what time the lunch time supervisors (OK all you dinner ladies) need the hall, finding the best routes through early morning traffic, getting there in time for a cup of tea and inventing the new show. By the way that’s going to be The Museum of Untold Stories, more of which later.
For those of you who know us already – Martin Riley is writing for Glyndebourne, Carry Franklin is writing to the Arts Council (funding funding funding), Luke Dickson is in The Blahs’ Hide And Seek and I, John  Mee, have been thinking about buying a new bike for ages. Julie Robinson has just got married and is now Julie Kay. Dee Shepherd has upsticked to Rose Bruford, Peter Gray is wearing the same outrageous ties, Rose Heywood has just joined us as a very welcome volunteer as has Debs England and we are looking for more in case you fancy joining us.
For those of you who don’t know us already– we’d like to hear from you.
What else? Next visits are to Hob Moor Primary in York, Parkside in Calverley and St Philip’s in Middleton all with Gawain and The Green Knight – bells, giant puppet, crown, sword, the choirboy from hell, making a way into the dungeons, a row between Morgan Le Fay and King Arthur, drawing, writing, physical theatre, role plays and a quest which lasts a year and a day.
Enough – shall we buy one of those snow shovels in case?