Monday, 28 October 2013

Making a shadow theatre

As our Fear project has progressed it has been noticable that the children have shared a fear of the dark as well as for monsters, witches, ghosts etc, we have also noticed the children's interest in theatre and acting out the storybook we have been reading. So I thought that making a shadow theatre would be a great way to mix their interests with their explorations of fear.

So I experimented - I have NEVER built a shadow theatre before (having just used sheets hanging up with a light behind it before) - but this time I wanted something smaller that could be brought out and used and then put away - and also something that would allow the children to make their own shadow puppets - and I have noticed that at the moment the children's drawings tend to be quite small. Of course when making something that comes from your head like this, there is always a risk of it going wrong - but I feel that it is important that I show the children that I work with that I am prepared to take risks - that it is OK for things to go wrong, and that we can learn from our mistakes...

So in my head I reckoned I needed black card, white baking paper, and some cardboard for extra support and also so that the theatre could stand...

As you can see on the above photo I cut out the black card to create a frame - it was two pieces and first we glued on a piece of white baking paper (as it will disperse the light nicely to create shadows at the same time as allowing light through easily. We then glued some extra cardboard in to make it a bit more sturdy and then another layer of black card to finish it off.
I taped on two wings of cardboard that I cut slits into at the bottom so that an additional supporting strip of card could be used behind the theatre to help it have better blance, abd keep the wings open. We are thinking about adding trees and other things to this strip behind the theatre to add a backdrop to the performances that will eventually happen.

If I was to do this again - i would simply take a big cardboard box and cut of one of the long sides (which I would then use a part of for the supporting strip at the back) and then use the shorts sides as the standing wings and cut out a hole for the theatre on the long side which I would cover with baking paper. I would then paint the theatre (although I would paint it BEFORE I added the baking paper screen - well the children would paint it).

This was quite tricky for the children to do, but they participated the best they could (I will have to go back and re-glue some areas as the children were a bit haphazard as to where the glue was going ;-) )

The children started on the puppets - but I feel as the children probably don't fully understand what it is that they are doing, that I would just let them draw - some clearly made scary things like ghosts and monsters - but the majority just enjoyed the drawing process... So I am thinking of making a few puppets and putting on a show on Thursday morning to get them thinking about how they can best make their own puppets - and their own story-lines...

So hopefully later this week there will be some images of it in action!!

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