Sound: "Chinese Orchestra Rehearsal" *
* Courtesy of freeSFX.co.uk
A group of 6-11 year olds and their parents/carers come to Brighton's Theatre Royal for a Borrowers themed creative workshop. First they are taken on a backstage tour of the historic building by Jackie Alexander, the theatre's development manager and instructed to keep their eyes peeled as things had been going missing around the theatre. After being shown the auditorium they are taken up the private stairway to the Circle Bar where one of them spots a tiny mug laying on the carpet with its contents spilled. After some discussion, we decide that the participants look trustworthy and agree to let them in on a secret. A curtain across a cupboard behind the bar is drawn back to reveal the Borrowers' bar.
Sound: "I Only Have Eyes For You" by The Flamingos.
Smell: Coffee beans.
Participants are given magnifying glasses and invited to investigate the room, those waiting for a turn are passed the bottles on the bar to smell and guess at the contents.
The tour continues, heading back through the auditorium to the dressing rooms backstage. A bunch of snowdrops tied up with string is discovered on the floor near the cleaning cupboard. A star cut from the theatre program is spotted on the cupboard door which is opened to reveal another hidden room.
Eggletina's Dressing Room.
Sound: A ticking clock.
Participants read the poster on the wall advertising a play called "BEANS!" and pass around the costumes to examine.
The group moves on, down some narrow steps and under the stage where the scent of popcorn hangs in the air and faint music can be heard. They discover a miniature theatre (pictured at the top of this page) under some blackout curtains in a dusty alcove. They eat a piece of borrowed popcorn as they peer into the darkened theatre and see their own image reflected back at them from a mirror at the back of the stage.
The tour concludes and the group return to the start of their journey to make their own Borrower's rooms. They are provided with a selection of basic craft materials as well as 'borrowed' items and produce an astonishing array of miniature delights ranging from clothes to furniture and a even fully fitted bathroom complete with a towel rail.
Feedback for the workshop:
"I came to the borrowers workshop on Saturday with my daughter and our friends. I wanted to write and say how much we loved it. The two ladies were so nice, friendly and extremely helpful. It was very interesting and we loved the little borrowers homes. The activity was excellent. So often we go to an art workshop with scrappy bits of fabric and card. Your one had loads of choice and different materials. I could not fault the morning. I am going to book the next one.
Regards Jane (parent)"
"Thank you so much for a brilliant workshop on Saturday. You worked so hard and it really paid off - the attention to detail in the settings was fantastic..."
Jackie Alexander, Development Manager, Brighton Theatre Royal.
These workshops are site-specific and could be held in theatres, schools, museums, galleries, community centres or at parties. Please get in touch using my contact page if you would like to discuss booking your own Borrowers day.
Brighton Theatre Royal have an excellent youth/participatory program with creative after school clubs and workshops throughout the year. More details here.
This workshop was arranged through H2oh! Entertainment.