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Durham Drama out-line their experiences in Livingstone.Report Three

By perfectday, Sep 9 2016 08:28AM

We have been so busy over the past few days that I have not had the time to write, I do apologise.

Over the past few days, we have visited many different placements, which have been fun, very rewarding, very tiring, and at times challenging.

Each morning we go to Palm Grove school, and we have a group of about 35 children, when they all turn up, which we have subdivided into 3 smaller groups. We start the morning by working outside when it is cooler to do some movement exercises to warm them up and energise them. Often in the morning after 2 hours of lessons the children are tired and can't be bothered so it takes a lot of effort to get them all moving and excited. We then play a concentration game to focus them. We decide what group games we are doing before the workshop with one or two of us leading each one. We are keen to tell them why they are playing silly games, i.e. what purpose they have.

Then we take our individual groups to the indoor classrooms. These groups have remained the same since day one so we can build a better relationship with them. For this week we have been focusing on drama theory, exercises, and technique in body, movement, and voice. Whereas on Monday we will start to use these skills to create a mini performance. The challenges we face are mostly due to poor attendance, as often the children won't turn up. We will work closely with Sam the drama teacher (who incidentally could not understand why none of us were married) to improve attendance. However despite these problems we have loved working with them as the kids are so enthusiastic and friendly.

We have visited Lubasi orphanage twice now with mixed successes. Whilst we have loved talking to the children and think the Orphanage is well run and organised, there has been some confusion as to why our group are there. For example because we can only have 45 minutes - 1 hour with the children we were advised to just play with the kids, talk to them, and make their day with some singing and story books. We brought children's books, colouring books, chess, Frisbees, and bouncy balls with us but when we got there the Mother told us we were to either teach them to read, talk to the older children about Orwell's Animal Farm or devise a piece of drama. We felt that not only were we not prepared or qualified to teach but that also that's not why we were there, and also that the children quickly became disengaged once we started to 'teach' them. They were more than happy to talk to us, and thrilled to play with the games we brought, but became shy and bored when the Mother asked us to read something educational. I think we need to communicate with the Mothers more clearly to explain to them why we are there.

We also visited Marimba Old People's Home which was a thoroughly rewarding experience. We sang for them and gave them each an orange and some biscuits and they were very friendly and grateful. I think we were under the impression that the Lubasi Orphanage would be more like the Old Age Home where we entertained them with singing and games rather than being strictly educational.

Yesterday we went to the SEPO youth group following a meeting with them earlier in the week. However after meeting the group on Tuesday it became clear that they were looking for something that we couldn't provide. They wanted to know more about the music industry and wanted us to meet and advise up and coming musicians - we are not qualified to do this. They suggested that we participate in their communities project such as the condom distribution programme or the night Street watch programme which we were all very keen to do but could not do for health and safety reasons and bad timetabling. Staffy, from Sport in Action, will continue to work them. Perhaps in years to come we could too. We realised this programme would not work now so we shortened the programme so they taught us traditional dances for an hour yesterday whilst we will teach them something on Monday.

Yesterday evening we went to an evangelical church to perform with the praise team - or choir- in their three and a half hour service. We were very taken aback by the service which consisted of a lot of frenzied shouting and screaming and chanting. We loved singing with the choir which made beautiful music and they were very friendly, but the service was quite intimidating and so far removed from what we are used to. We have been invited back and have to decide whether we go back again.

Finally we met Docas, Aggrey's wife, who took us to the fabric market and measured us for clothes. We are very excited and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.


Many thanks,


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