The Dahl Project
100 years ago a baby was born. And that baby would grow up to write stories - such fizz-whizzing, whoopsy-splunker stories that boys and girls all over the world would come to love them.
That human bean was called Roald Dahl.
One day, 100 years later, two theatre companies had a meeting – Travelling Light and Tobacco Factory Theatres.
“Perhaps” they said “we should create a project, all about storytelling, theatre and creating characters. Over 7 months we should work with schools, young people, emerging artists and professionals; and as well as unlocking lots of imaginations we will create a book, a summer school performance and a piece of theatre!”
And that’s exactly what they did. The project was called The Dahl Project.
Their project would contain the following phases:
Phase one: Creating characters with local school children
Phase 2: A fantastic Summer School
Phase 3: Community performances in schools
That’s three (count them).
This chapter, as you may have guessed, is about phase one. The two theatre companies are going into two schools every Friday for 6 weeks, working with 45 students from Year 3– are you keeping up so far, got all those numbers? Good. They are having lots of creative and theatre-tastic fun creating their own Dahl-esque characters. Now, it may seem like we’re just creating characters, but that’s not all, using drama and creative writing the students will develop their knowledge of literary techniques and expand their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. How wonderful. At the end of the process a book will be created containing images and descriptions of the characters, all from their imaginations, so they’ll be just like Roald Dahl and have created a book of their very own! You may well be saying to yourself at this point, “If that’s not jumpsquiffling, I don’t know what is!”
Now very often in a book the later chapters all link back to earlier chapters. We all know if you jump into a book half way through you may be a little lost. So as you might expect, Chapter 2 & 3 both link back to Chapter 1. Chapter 2 will take the characters created in Chapter 1 and weave them into a story, and from that there will be a short, original piece of theatre to be performed at the end of the summer school. But I’m getting ahead of myself, let me tell you about the summer school. This summer school will run for two weeks during the winter holidays, oh no wait, during the summer holidays, the clues in the name. What a frothbuggling mistake! The 15-20 diverse mix of young people taking part in this will be recruited from the two youth theatres of the two theatre companies as well as two local schools. Joining them will be four young artists. Now this is exciting as it will allow four young artists between 19-25 years old to work with industry professionals and receive guidance and mentoring. So at the end of Chapter 2 we have a bunch of imaginative characters, a whole lot of fun in summer school using them to create a play, and four young artists who have learnt loads more about their chosen career - phew! Brilliant!
This is where it all comes together. You know at the end of a book, after twists and turns, ups and downs and lots of hard work, when the hero completes their mission, well this is it. And we’re going out a BANG! The devised play from summer school will be honed by a professional writer and our young writer from the summer school, then joined by a cast of three young performers aged 19-25 and our creative team of young artists and professionals will then be commissioned to perform the piece in four Secondary schools in deprived areas including the secondary schools of the primary schools we visited in Chapter 1. You see? Full circle. It promises to be a wonderful adventure. And you know when people are too close to something they can’t see it for what it really is?
Let me let my friend Roald Dahl explain:
“It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful. Some parents go further. They become so blinded by adoration they manage to convince themselves their child has qualities of genius”
That’s not the case here. This project is TRULY gloriumptious. Trust me.
If you want to find out more about The Dahl Project, don't be a twit, just get in touch with our Creative Learning Officer Lizzy at Lizzy@travellinglighttheatre.org.uk
The Dahl Project
Phase one: Creating the Marvellous Book of Imagination
The Dahl Project
Phase two: The Weird and Wonderful World of Barkarkington Academy