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Open Day at the Community Centre: blog post by Naomi

Today, Friday 15th, saw us introducing members of the public and creative professionals to some of the elements of our work in progress. We put up examples of Ana’s wonderful story boards and set ideas and filled the rehearsal room with design elements, puppet prototypes, and set models. We were very keen to get as much feedback as possible on the production so far. The community centre was bustling with life this morning and we had a steady stream of visitors through the doors.

We took some of our bear puppet prototypes into the regular coffee morning that was happening in the hall, and gave the attendees a brief insight into what we have been doing. Some of them then made their way down to our rehearsal space to look at our diagrams and drawings. In a nearby room, Ti a Fi – the Welsh language toddler group – was holding its weekly session. We invited the mothers to bring their toddlers and babies to join us and explore the set and puppets for a while. Throughout the morning, it was lovely to see the positive reactions we got from all ages.

At noon, we showed a short scene for some of the visitors, and then again at two for a group of young adults with additional needs. We continued to present variations of the scene numerous times during the afternoon. What was interesting was how much the scene changed and progressed throughout the day. Each run that we did was influenced by the one before and by the feedback the visitors, young and old, gave us. It was a fascinating process and one which I think has benefited us greatly. It was a chance for us to really consider the clarity of the scene and to test out some puppetry and performance ideas with an immediate response from the audience. There was a real sense of excitement in the room and, as one parent said, it was a great opportunity for the children (and adults) to gain an insight into what goes on behind the scenes: the unseen work that goes into creating a piece of theatre. Our team is very much looking forward to developing the piece further based on the success of today and our engagement with members of the community.

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