Meet our Summer Holiday Workshop Teaching Artists

This summer holiday we’re presenting two workshops for children starting on Monday 16 January. You’re Joking is for Little Geckos aged 5 – 7 and  Mimecraft is for Junior Geckos aged 8 – 12. You find out more about the workshops and enrol here.

In this post we introduce you to our two School Holiday Workshops teaching artists, Natalie Ryan-Brand aka Natty-noo to the families who know her from Story Inc!  And Michelle Hall who brings her vast experience in working with children and young people to Junior Ensembles from term one 2017.

We asked both teaching artists a few questions so that we could find out a little more about what motivates them as teaching artists and to tell you more about some of the things they have planned for our Summer Holiday Workshops starting 16 January. 

What made you want to become a teaching artist with Barking Gecko Theatre Company?

Natalie Ryan-Brand (NRB): When I applied to Barking Gecko, I had trouble keeping my excitement levels to a minimum in the interview.  I’m sure I didn’t succeed.  Working as a teaching artist with Barking Gecko was, and is, my dream job.  I love working with children and I love my craft and the opportunity to combine both whilst working with such a wonderful organisation was irresistible.

Michelle Hall (MH): I wanted to be a Teaching Artist specifically with Barking Gecko because the company is, for me, a brilliant philosophical and artistic match.  It’s so clear to me that Barking Gecko are all about nurturing children’s creativity as a way to live a fully present, authentic, self-directed life full of possibilities. Children and Young People are the most curious, radical, joyous and insightful artists, in my opinion.  As a teaching artist with BG, I get to nurture their innate creative forces and orchestrate the ‘play’ that happens as we tell stories, build characters and worlds.  I love magic, games and being a bit whacky sometimes.

What do you have in store in the upcoming holiday workshops?

NRB: This holiday break we will be working on our comedic skills in our ‘You’re Joking!” Workshop.  We will explore what’s funny to the student and how to express their own humour, by telling jokes and presenting skits.

MH: We are going to fire up our imaginations and create some totally unique stories about a QUEST!  We’ll be playing with the skills of Object Theatre, upcycling old boxes, junk and paper to construct the worlds and characters of our stories.  Also, we will be charging up our bodies, using movement and improvisation to explore telling our stories visually.  And there’s more! We’ll experiment with our voices and objects to make soundscapes as a way of bringing stories to life.

What do you hope kids will get out of it?

NRB: The most important part of any creative workshop with Natty-Noo is to have fun!  I also hope they will gain a love of their own creativity and the confidence to express their own individual talents.

MH: A bodacious amount of awesomeness and fun. New buddies, new ideas and ways of seeing, making and showing stories.

What should parents to know before they book?

NRB: As the workshop progresses, the students may need to bring very, very basic, and easy props to locate from around the home.

The students will need to wear shorts or leggings and tee shirts that don’t ride up, as we jump about a bit during class.

We have a break during class and we go outside and play in the playground at Subi Arts Centre, so block out, a hat, food and beverage is always a good idea.

You should also know that I am so excited about this workshop and I am really looking forward to working with your awesome kids.

MH: The workshop is focused on experimentation and team work as much as it is about performance or acting.  Kids will be immersed in group work and creative challenges.  Skills like resilience, problem solving, higher order thinking and the ability to communicate, bond and collaborate with others.  These are the skills that, in my 15 years of teaching experience I have come to believe, best enable young people and any human being to THRIVE, to participate in and contribute to our big, wide world.’WARNING: Children may experience high levels of enjoyment.