Having always had an interest in children's theatre, I wanted to use my Masters to develop a child-led process for devising theatre for young audiences, with a heavy influence on creation through play. I began the project by investigating how children perceive stories. I decided to conduct workshops with children using a story that was unknown to them, so they didn't bring any preconceptions to their ideas. I was very fortunate to have my lovely nieces and nephew willing to take part in these workshop sessions (with the extra incentive of some chocolate after a session).
We worked over a period of ten days doing various activities. Firstly I read the story to them. I had them draw pictures and discuss the story with me and each other. Then I conducted "floor work", which involved physical, vocal warm ups and a lot of drama games and exercises. I then asked the children to play out parts of the story. I then developed a script based verbatim on their words and ideas. My role in this process was like that of an editor. The first draft of 'The Giant with the Three Golden Hairs' was performed by adult actors for children.
When working with my adult actors, I did not want a strict or traditional rehearsal process. I essentially gave my actors the script and asked them to and go and play. I wanted to maintain this element of play and spontaneity found in the workshop sessions and to try to replicate that on stage.
The first work-in-progress performance of 'The Giant with the Golden Hairs' went very well, the children really enjoyed the show. Since then I have been developing this concept to create Three Feathers.