National Theatre of Scotland announces 8 week online family programme

This is the time of year when the Edinburgh International Children’s Festival usually takes place. Like everything else in the arts world, that longstanding annual event has been cancelled. However, all is not lost. The National Theatre of Scotland (NTS), in association with Starcatchers, Scotland’s theatre specialists for the under 5s and Imaginate, Scotland’s foremost promoter of theatre for children, have announced a digital programme aimed at children and their families during the Coronavirus crisis.

Artistic Director of NTS, Jackie Wylie, says, Scotland has a brilliant community of theatre-makers and creative practitioners who are unable to make theatre on our stages during these challenging times…”

Play Datesis an eight week digital programme of fun, interactive, participative and entertaining activities created by some of Scotland’s leading creative practitioners and freelance artists created especially for this acute period, whilst schools are off.

Launching on Tuesday 26 May 2020, a new Play Dates workshop will be released every day from Tuesday to Friday on the National Theatre of Scotland website and social media channels over the next eight weeks where online audiences can access and take part in the activities, all of which are free. The Play Dates programme, which will continue to be developed across the next few months, will include activities for all ages.

All the Play Datesvideos will be hosted together on the National Theatre of Scotland website so families can catch up with all the activities. In addition, a selection of curated online resources, including artistic demonstration videos, relating to previous National Theatre of Scotland projects will be hosted online.

The programme offers fee-based employment to a number of talented freelance artists, technicians and practitioners who work regularly behind the scenes on the creation of world-class Scottish theatre.

Participating artists will be the following Glasgow based artists: theatre maker, musician and performer Claire Eliza Willoughby; freelance theatre artist Fraser MacLeod; AV designer, visual artist and composer Lewis den Hertog, sound and video artist Rob Jones and devised theatre makers Sarah Rose Graber and Ruxy Cantir.

Irene Brown

Play Dates Programme

Connect, Create and Play – Tuesdays at 2pm (4 weeks)

A series of videos by theatre artist Fraser MacLeod with games and exercises to do at home and suggestions on how to connect with friends online and have fun together, through platforms such as Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp and Facetime. The series will look at how to get your voice working, creating your own unique tongue twister, playing games online with friends and family and how to create stories and share them by making your own stop motion movie.

How to Create a Stop Motion Movie (26 May); How to Create Your Own Tongue Twister (2 June); Play Online with Family & Friends, With Jack & Max edition (9 June); Play Online with Family & Friends, With Jack, Max, Grandma and Clare (16 June).  For ages 8 plus

Storify – how to create stories – Wednesdays at 2pm (8 weeks)

Theatre makers Sarah Rose Graber and Ruxy Cantir lead a series of interactive videos about how to create and tell stories at home. Imaginations will be unleashed and stories created from everyday surroundings. From using different story structures and bringing characters to life to discovering new and exciting ways to engage with the objects at home, each new episode will result in at least one original tale to share with friends and family. For ages 5 plus

Grow Your Own Gesamtkunstwerk (GYOG!) – how to make a show in your house – Thursdays at 2pm (8 weeks)

A video series about how to make a show at home. Each episode focuses on a different area of the arts, building up each week, so that by the end of the series, you have all the ingredients to make a piece of theatre to be performed in your own home. Created and presented by Glasgow based arts enthusiast Veronika Velvette. Facilitated by Claire Eliza Willoughby and Rob Jones, GYOG! is also supported by Snap – Elastic. For ages 7 plus

Unicorn Dance Party – Fridays at 2pm (8 weeks)

An inclusive new video series from Sarah Rose Graber and Ruxy Cantir about finding the joy within us. Everyone has an inner unicorn, but sometimes it takes a bit of dancing to bring it out! Join Melody and Luna as they celebrate what makes us unique by groovin’ around our homes. Each episode will highlight different, fun ways to move our bodies and uncover inspiration from the spaces and materials around us. So pop on some sweet tunes because there’s a party around every corner and a bit of unicorn magic inside all of us!  For children, young people and families of all ages.

Everything’s A Moving Picture – how to set the scene with video (3 daily sessions)

A series of three video workshops created by leading Scottish theatre audio visual designer Lewis den Hertog which look at how to approach using video to help tell stories. The videos will explore ways you can do this with “stock” and archive footage (footage that already exists), interesting ways for young people to make footage at home and how you can be creative with text and subtitles to make shows more interesting for people who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing. For ages 10 plus

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