Indigo Moon offers workshops which can be tailored to many different circumstances relating to age, abilities, educational context, and the space and support available. Usually workshops are for maximum 30 participants.
Many aspects of the National Curriculum can be covered by such work, and for any subject, but particularly Literacy, Speaking & Listening, Art, Drama, Music and Technology. Puppetry also contains significant examples of simple physics such as forces and motion, the properties of materials and the visual use of simple fractions. Many subjects can be covered through project-related activities and research, or through watching one of Indigo Moon's interactive performances with a relevant theme.
Accessible Puppet-making, music and interaction inspire our audiences and participants to create puppets. With enough time they can produce their own show to explore a chosen theme, complete with musical accompaniment. Our approach is open and flexible. We enjoy collaborating with staff and children to make every project unique. Between 2005 and 2011 Indigo Moon took part in ten successful primary school Puppetry residencies for Creative Partnerships in Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, N. Lincolnshire or N.Yorkshire.
The following workshops can last from as little as one and a half hours, though many are often done in two hours or one day. Some of them relate directly to our theatre shows which act as a stimulus shared by a larger audience. All of these can be extended to create a longer lasting residency over a given number of sessions.
Shadow puppetry is generally the most accessible form of puppetry as very spectacular results can be achieved in the shortest time using the minimum of materials and the simplest of methods. On the other hand, as with all the types of puppet mentioned here, the longer the length of the project, the more one can explore and achieve.
There are very many materials that can be used to make shadow puppets, as well as ways to make shadows of many different qualities. The most common type of shadow puppet workshop involves making very simple puppets out of thin card and using coloured cellophane or lighting gel to create colour. Many other ways of casting shadows can be explored however, including the use of our own bodies and different light sources.
Therefore this type of workshop is ideal for exploring light and shadow within the National Curriculum.
Aladdin, Alice and the White Rabbit, The Lost Forest & The Worm that Squirmed or through our company collection of shadow puppets from around the world, including examples from India, Indonesia, Cambodia & China
Participants explore techniques of light and shadow to discover how a simple everyday object can transform into a scene from a science-fiction film, or how their own bodies might transform into a lumbering giant with a new head.
Experimenting with the use of different and multiple light sources, corridors of light, assorted colours and a 4 metre deep projection area with a huge screen, the potential of shadow theatre unfolds an exciting world that can inspire many new creative projects while also illustrating basic principles of shadow and light in a fun, visual and very memorable way.
References are also made to the traditional background of South East Asian puppetry and its social significance.
Workshops making simple rod puppets based on Wayang Golek, traditional rod puppets of Sunda, West Java, are available with a demonstration of how these colourful characters move.
Using easily available mainly recycled materials, participants can construct and operate a simple rod puppet which can breathe like a traditional wayang golek puppet. Depending on time they might create and perform a story, or in short workshops at least learn how to present their character and make them move.
Straight after the performance of The Lost Forest the company holds a question and answer session to the audience (the whole school, or all who can fit into a well darkened hall) - for about 15 minutes.
In the afternoon workshop (with 30 key stage 2 children), the baddie of the show, Endorro, and other characters from the show are put on trial in a classroom.
The class is split into four groups to write down questions for each of the character/s: Endorro (the logging baron), Jabrig (his employee who eventually leaves the job), Semar and his son Dewala (the forces of good) and a character who didn't appear in the show: Bob, a local consumer of the global wood products. Children meet their relevant puppet character/s and at the end of the afternoon cross examine them using a microphone in a dramatic courtroom situation. This time we learn how the wood cutter's home is flooded because of the tree felling, how he survives by developing eco-tourism (after refusing to burn the last bit of forest and losing his job), how little he was paid compared to his boss Endorro, how Endorro is one of just a handful of barons who acquire huge riches, how he earns this money and the real impact on the environment. In this trial (hosted by a willing teacher who is briefed by the company to be judge in the afternoon), and with the children acting as both cross-examiners and jury, there is no doubt about the verdict at the end and important facts come to light about everyone's different levels of blame and how to save the rainforest - and why it is so important.
The Worm that Squirmed adapted for the theme of anti-violence.
This workshop involves a simple method of making a dancing Indian puppet out of stockings and recycled cloth. Two versions are available, one simple (originally devised by Pat Brennan) and the other more complex (adapted by Anna Ingleby), depending on the age, ability, time and support available. After making the dancing puppets, children can learn how to make them dance with Saraswati and end the session with a simple Bollywood style dance presentation.
Saraswati, the dancing marionette from Rajasthan, possibly with live sitar and/or other kathputli characters (such as a snake charmer with cobra, a horse rider, a tabla player, a camel, and a puppet which is neither male nor female), can provide a short demonstration that might accompany this workshop.
Using another very simple prototype devised by Anna Ingleby for use at a Barbican Centre workshop, very tactile glove puppets with animal bodies and moving mouths can be created in a very short space of time, allowing (in favourable circumstances) some time to work on performing stories. Despite the same very simple making method for all the puppets, the way the creatures are given ears, eyes, tails etc. can result in all of them looking like completely different animals!
These puppets were originally devised by Anna Ingleby as prototypes for workshops at the Barbican centre in August 2001.
The strength of these prototypes is their effective use of materials including the use of weights at the ends of the leg wires creating easily achieved movement. Contrary to popular belief, marionettes can be very effective for childrens' workshops if the stringing is kept simple enough. In the case of the marionette mice, only one string forms a large loop between two points on the mouse's body, allowing easy handling, effective movement and low risk of tangling.
In this highly unusual workshop children learn to make a simple horse out of a piece of rattan, some cardboard and string, and then learn the very easy yet dynamic movement patterns of the traditional horse dance of West Java.
Meanwhile they also learn take it in turns to learn musical rhythms from Java on basic percussion instruments to accompany the resulting horse dance! With enough time, this workshop can result in choreographed work for festival processions.