There is no hiding anymore, time to step into the spotlight and sink or swim.
A collection of harsh little critics file into the school hall and sit down and deliver their finest harsh critic gazes towards us. This is just the first of seven sessions presenting our book to the children of Commonswood Primary School.
Now, something we had created from scratch, will be laid out for children to see, and critique. We came armed with big colourful images and big colourful masks. I would narrate and Eleanor was to act out all the characters.
Eleanor slapped a cardboard crown on the front of my Velcro'd head and we were away. There followed a slightly awkward, ad-hoc rendition of the book., with the children helping us by providing the sound effects such as fanfares, sword-swishing and booing (now, hold on there -we had asked them to boo, it was part of the story, honest!). We'd given ourselves a lot of mask-swapping and prop manipulation and it was quite a challenge.
I can't claim that our first performance was a finely polished masterpiece, but we had given it our best shot. This was our first time after all. I was happy we had made it through.
Then we showed them the trailer and explained how we created some of the characters from bits of card and showed them some of our models. Then we answered some of their questions (thankfully no 'why are you here?'), handed out activity sheets/feedback sheets (more about those in future blogs) and they filed out to make way for the next class. This was exhausting and we had only done one. Six more to go.
However, as we went from performance to performance throughout the day, we got better and started to realise where to put our focus, involving the children more and spending more time showing them the models and the process.
A few of the children had their photo taken wearing the masks and holding the props and they loved it.
In a future blog I will detail more of what we learnt and the feedback we got. Safe to say it was a very valuable experience and I'm glad we stepped out of our comfort zone to do it.