We visited Belle Vale Primary with some of the fruit faces they created and got them to road test them for us – thanks again to all the pupils and staff for their hard work!
The remaining 12 fruit faces will now go on display at Dobbies Garden Centre in Speke as part of their Big Garden Party over the weekend of the 16th & 17th June. Check here for details – Thanks again to Angela and her team at Dobbies for all the contributions made to our project.
Saturday 7th April was an exciting day to be at Belle Vale Shopping Centre as young people from Valley Theatre, together with a group of older dancers, entertained the shoppers! This performance was the product of 6 weeks of hard work and rehearsal by the groups.
It all started at 10.00 when we met at Valley Theatre for last-minute brush-ups and to get into costume. The group loved to see each other in full costume, complete, in some cases, with wigs and fake moustaches! The four Doctors were in full white coats and had stethoscopes and thermometers round their necks and carried clipboards on which to make their notes. The Happiness police were all in black and had police helmets on – but each of them had a daft prop including a squeaky truncheon, a feather duster and a judge’s gavel! Walking from Valley Theatre to the shopping centre raised some eyebrows as pedestrians and motorists all wondered what on earth such a strange looking bunch of people could be up to!
Nerves set in a little bit once we arrived at the shopping centre as the young people realised that the interactive performances they had worked on for so long now required them to walk up to members of the public! But without fail, they all bravely got started and the response was fantastic! Almost all members of the public approached got into the spirit of the performances and were laughing away with the groups. The Doctors were giving out jokes (because laughter is the best medicine) and the Happiness Salespeople were giving away miniature bottles of Happiness and everyone the groups performed to left with a smile on their face. At 11.30 the other group of dancers arrived, a group of older ladies who were part of the performance. The groups had a little time to speak to each other before the young people got back on with the serious business of making people laugh!
Then, at 12.00, after an hour of performing, it was time for the first flashmob. The group was a little nervous but excited too. The music for the older ladies’ dance group started and they began their piece, a beautiful contact dance piece which began to gather a crowd. As the piece came to an end the boys from Valley Theatre walked into the performance area and led the ladies from the stage. Then the music for Disco Inferno began and the young people ran into the performance area! The crowd grew and began clapping along as the group performed their ‘dance off’ routine. I don’t think the young people had had any idea of what sort of response they would get but the crowd were delighted and were clapping and cheering when the dance was over.
Everyone carried on performing their walk-about characters throughout the day and there were three more flashmobs too! The group had plenty of breaks but often didn’t want to stop for long as they were so keen to make the most of the experience!
By the time we finished it was nearly 3pm and everyone was tired but very happy, It was certainly one of those occasions when all the hard work pays off and everyone can be justly proud about what they did. A big thank you to all the young people of Valley Theatre, to the older ladies who also performed, to the staff of Valley Theatre who were so supportive and to Belle Vale Shopping Centre for helping to make this such an enjoyable and successful event.
Well it was a great day at Belle Vale Shopping Centre on Saturday – we had a host of shoppers to surprise and engage and hopefully make smile.
The day started with the CHATS team setting up their stalls with free fruit, water, massages, nails and advice and checks on personal health and sexual health.
The Shared Place Dancers then arrived at the central coffee stop and refreshed before being led downstairs to the loading bay for a sneaky practice run out of site.
As this was happening the youth groups from Valley Theatre arrived in full costume to raise the spirits of the Saturday shoppers and those trapped waiting in long cash machine queues. The Happiness Police patrolled the Mall, the Wellness Doctors diagnosed those in need of a daily dose of jokes whilst other performers puzzled onlookers with their sales techniques and character mood swings – hopefully some of them were appeased by the free ‘Bottled Happiness’ keyrings that were being given out during the day.
12 noon saw the first dance performance take place and even though we were slightly more conspicuous than we intended it seemed to take a portion of the audience by surprise as the Ladies of the Shared Place Dancers performed their interpretive piece before the Valley youngsters brought down the house to the tune of ‘Disco Inferno’. Look out for the surprise Easter bunny appearance about 5 mins in!
With a full four dance performances staggered across the day we hopefully impacted on as many Belle Vale Shoppers as possible as well as the odd local Councillor and Culture Liverpool representative.
A fun time was had by everyone and it just remains to give a huge thank you to all involved especially – Laura, Sarah and Jen for developing the performances and working so brilliantly with the groups – Paul, Denise and all of the Security at Belle vale for assisting in the day so well – Pauline and the CHATS team for supporting the project and making the event bigger than we could make it – Martin, Keiron and all the Staff and ESPECIALLY the kids from Valley Theatre who mad the whole event so alive – Our Shared Place Dancers, who until this blog post were un-named as a group but brought poise and elegance to the proceedings – and finally Margi Kelly and Richie for helping us out last minute with the much needed tables and chairs!
If you were there we hope you enjoyed it! We will post as much of the event as we could capture here over the next few days.
It’s been a busy week for the young people of Valley Theatre as we hurtle towards the performance on Saturday 7th April at Belle Vale shopping centre.
We met for our final rehearsal on Monday evening. There were, as is always the case, plenty of last minute problems to solve, questions over costumes and performance jitters! We worked for a while on the pop-up performances and I can say that there are some very cheeky Happiness Police and the chance for shoppers to get their hands on some Bottled Happiness!
We then concentrated on the dance and incorporated lots of moves choreographed by the young people. It’s a sort of dance off between the girls and the boys. But that’s not all…As part of the project, our choreographer has been working with a group of older women who will be featured in some of the dance performances with the young people too.
On Wednesday evening we were privileged to be allowed to rehearse in the shopping centre after hours, when all the customers had gone. It was just us and the security guards and maintenance staff! It was great for the young people to have the chance to do the closest thing we’ll get to a dress rehearsal. We practised the dance in situ and worked on the best areas for the performances. Then the costumes were brought out which caused temporary chaos as everyone rushed to get theirs on and played with props. It was useful for the whole cast to get a chance to run their scenes in full costume and with all props. And it all looks great! Everyone is looking forward to it now, in spite of some last minute nerves, and we hope that all the shoppers on Saturday will enjoy it all as much as we have enjoyed creating it!
Well, just two weeks to go now until Valley Youth Theatre group put on a show at Belle Vale shopping centre! We warmed up with some vocal exercises. We used the old song, My Bonny Lies over the Ocean to start with then broke it into rounds and then into call-and-response. The group worked well and we got quite a good sound going! Once everyone was raring to go, we cast the roles for the performance. There are several pop-up performances, each with 3 or 4 cast members. All the pieces are based on the improvisations that the group have been developing over the last few weeks. It was crunch time and we needed to fix what would be happening in each piece so the groups worked together with support from the workshop leaders to rehearse the final acts. After a while, each group had a chance to perform for the rest of the group and then the everyone gave constructive criticism about each piece. We’ve got just one more session to go now so the pressure is on but everyone is looking forward to finally showing their work to a largely unsuspecting public!
Belle Vale Primary’s healthy artwork is now finished and a set of 15 fresh faced fruits and veggies will be joining our ranks of public artwork! It promotes healthy eating and keeping active and also gives clues as to who would win in a fight between a potato and a lemon! Many thanks again to Jo Moon for the finishing touches!
This week at Lee Valley…
Great progress this week as we near our Belle Vale Deadline! The group worked on their dance moves and combined some breakdancing, disco hip-hop and robot style maneuvers to 32 counts. In all it gave us some great material to feed into the final piece.
After the break we revisited the performances we started last week and devised the stronger ideas further. People in Belle Vale Shopping Centre may well find themselves asked to undertake some interesting ‘wellness’ tests by Dr FeelBetter or Nurse WellGood. Or they might encounter the Happiness Police, characters currently modelled on James Bond! The group are growing in confidence and there is a huge amount of enthusiasm for the project.
It’s been a while since we reported on Belle Vale Primary’s Fruit and Veg paintings – well we’ve had some help from Allerton based children’s illustrator Jo Moon who has kindly put the finishing touches to the childrens pieces. We have 15 artworks all with energetic fruit and veg that are currently homeless but discussions are underway and you’ll see these cheeky fellows popping up very soon.
What a week! The young people at Valley were on top form last night as we started to develop pieces for inclusion in the performance at Belle Vale shopping centre on Saturday 7th April. Our them, broadly, is things that can improve a persons wellbeing, which we take to mean how a person feels both physically and mentally. So we decided to play around with some ideas around the kinds of people we encounter in everyday life, such as police and doctors – but with a twist.
The group were divided into pairs or groups of three and each group was given a key phrase or idea to develop a character or interactive performance from. All performances needed to be interactive and family friendly. Examples of the ideas given to start off characters include Mrs ItCouldBeWorse, The Happiness Doctors and The Happy Police. The groups were given time to work on their piece then had to perform it for the rest of the group! The ideas that people came up with were fantastic. The group who started with ‘Mrs ItCouldBeWorse’ developed a game show called The Glad Game – players come up, talk about something that is wrong with them (feeling sad or a sore arm) and the panellists point out all the reasons they have to be glad about their life to make them feel better! The intention of all the performances is to make people smile, encourage them to see the sunny side of life and to connect with people around them.
After the break, the whole group worked together to learn The Bus Stop, a disco dance step that travels – that is, you can move around a space with it. People were quick to pick up the basic steps and, with encouragement, were soon adding their own style to the moves! With Michael Jackson’s ‘Blame it on the Boogie’ playing, we all did a full version of The Bus Stop and ended on a real high! Looking forward to next week and more impro madness and diva-ish dancing!
Week two was off to a flying start with the group at Childwall Valley Theatre with a game of Empire. The young people initiated and led this game, placing us, the facilitators in the role of participants which was fun! In this game, everyone thinks of a celebrity; it’s a good idea not to choose someone you are a huge fan of as many of your friends will guess this straight away! One by one, people go out and tell the Leader who their celebrity is and the Leader writes this down. No one should know who has chosen which celebrity! Then, after the Leader reads out all the celebrity names, everyone must deduce which celebrity people have chosen by picking someone in the circle and asking them, for eg: ‘Mark, are you Lady Gaga?’. If Mark’s chosen celebrity was Lady Gaga then he must join the Empire of the person who asked the question! The winners are those who have the biggest Empire by the end of the game. It was harder than you might think as we kept forgetting the different celebrity names we could choose from!
After this, we moved on to some simple concentration games to get the group to focus. We tried to count to 20 as a group, one person at a time, with eyes closed. It was going well to start with then some folk tried to rush ahead, meaning we often faltered around 18 or 19 and had to go back to the beginning! But we managed it in the end.
Sarah then led a movement session, teaching the group a simple African rhythm and movement sequence. Starting with just the leg movements, everyone quite quickly picked it up. But once the hand movements were added we all had to pause and take our time! Those who picked it up quickly were very supportive of others and helped those who were finding it a bit harder.
After the break, we developed improvisation skills. One person started a scene then was told to freeze. A second person then entered and started a different scene. Once this was established, they were told to freeze and a third person entered and changed the scene again. This went on until all 16 people were in the scene! We went from gardening to American football to a film set! A great session.
Everyone was set homework – to think of a character who can be clearly defined by one word, such as sleepy, happy, confused. Can’t wait to see what everyone has come up with by next week!