Term 4: The Future

Future Kids Acting Classes

The Term 4 theme for our Gecko Ensembles is The Future, in honour of our brand new play My Robot!

Written by Finegan Kruckemeyer and directed by Matt Edgerton, My Robot will premiere this November at the State Theatre Centre, for ages 4+.  As always, our Ensemble content is in conversation with what’s onstage. So each of our Gecko Ensembles will be exploring this provocative theme at the same time as our professional company.

Term 4 has a performance focus, so all our young actors will learn a range of devising techniques, while developing the vocal and physical presence needed to deliver an awesome performance at the end of term.

Younger Geckos (Little and Junior groups) will be inspired by rich texts such as Wendel and The Robots written by the UK’s children’s laureate Chris Lidell, Brobot by WA’s very own James Foley, The Iron Man and The Iron Woman by legendary poet Ted Hughes. We can’t wait to see what comes out of your rich imaginations!

Senior Geckos will draw inspiration from the mountain of exciting theatrical work being made about the future at the moment. From Headlong’s brilliant stage adaptation of 1984, to The Simpsons-inspired Mr Burns: A Post Electric Play, there is no shortage of stimulus material about how humanity may change in the coming years. Will our future be a utopia, a dystopia or something entirely different – the Senior Geckos will give us their unique vision of The Future!

Term 3: Supernatural Stories

There’s another world out there just beyond the world we’re in

– Bill Viola

Term 3 Gecko Ensembles are all about Supernatural Stories. Filled with phantoms and packed with poltergeists, there will be hair-raising hilarity aplenty!

Every culture in the world has wonderful stories about the spirit world. There are the mischievous forest spirits in European folktales, who either help or hinder humans. The Aboriginal dreamtime stories feature giant creator spirits, which shaped the land we stand on today. Then there are the weird and wonderful ghosts in Pu Songling’s strange Chinese tales, that never fail to surprise.

Each of our Gecko Ensembles will be drawing on our rich international cultural heritage of supernatural stories and using these as a launch pad to tell their own stories and devise their own scenes.

Term three is a process term: this means we are focussed on introducing young people to the fundamental elements of acting through a powerful and relevant theme, and not on rehearsing for a performance outcome. The term will conclude with a low-key showing for parents and friends of the term’s process.

Gecko Ensemble content is always age-appropriate and focussed on the needs of the young people coming along. This term’s Supernatural Stories will be taught with sensitivity and respect for children’s existing faith and beliefs.

At Barking Gecko we’re also in the middle of developing an awesome top-secret play about ghosts. We can’t wait to see what our Gecko Ensembles come up with, to help us research for our upcoming work.

To enrol in a Term 3 Gecko Ensemble and be part of the supernatural tomfoolery, click here.

2017 Senior Gecko Ensemble – Themes Archive

This is an archive post of our 2017 Senior Gecko Ensemble themes. If you’re looking for what’s coming up in Term Four or to enrol in a Senior Gecko Ensemble click or tap here.

Term 1: The Tourist

I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.
-Douglas Adams

In Term 1, the Senior Geckos will be exploring the theme of The Tourist, based on UNESCO’s year of Sustainable Tourism For Development. Classes will use this as a point of departure to explore fundamental acting skills, based on the big ideas and challenges in the world around them.

Term 1 will also explore the question: What makes a great actor? The best actors seem effortlessly watchable, as if they were born to it. But talent is so much more than natural charisma. It can be learned. The great acting teacher Stella Adler says “your talent lies in your choices”. This term Senior Geckos will explore acting from the ground up, learning how to be truly present as an actor and create thrilling and unique performances.

Term 1 is a process term. This means classes are focused on introducing young people to the fundamental elements of performance through a powerful and relevant theme, and not on rehearsing for a performance outcome.

RELATED STORY: The Tourists – Matt Edgerton

Term 2:  A Focus on Performance – Shakepeare

This term Barking Gecko Ensembles are all about Shakespeare!

Whether diving into Shakespeare’s best loved stories, creating big bold characters, or brushing up a monologue for an audition, there will be something in this term for everyone. The Senior Geckos will be exploring the skills an actor needs to tackle the greatest texts ever written and bring them to life in their own unique interpretations.

This is a performance-focussed term, so the term’s work will culminate in a short showing to family and friends.

Term 3: Supernatural Stories

Term three at Barking Gecko is all about the spirit world. Barking Gecko is developing a play about ghosts, so everything this term is focussed on the spirit world.

Term three is a process term: This means we are focussed on introducing young people to the fundamental elements of acting through a powerful and relevant theme, and not on rehearsing for a performance outcome.

Over a period of nine sessions, young people in the Senior Gecko Ensembles will explore the theme of Ghosts, Spirits and the Supernatural, in a fun environment where their ideas are valued. This will culminate in a short showing of work in process (not a fully rehearsed performance) to share what they have been working on. By the end of the term participants will have developed their ability to improvise and will have an increased confidence and range in their imaginative, vocal and physical expression.

2017 Junior Gecko Ensembles – Themes archive

This is an archive of what we covered in previous terms in 2017 in the Junior Gecko Ensembles. Term Four topics and content are now online here.

Term 1:  The Tourist

I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.
-Douglas Adams

A big part of growing up is discovering that every place and person is unique. In honour of UNESCO’s international year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, term one will see Junior Gecko Ensembles becoming imaginative tourists, exploring our beautiful and surprising world. Junior geckos will play with big, exciting questions about who they are and how they can share our extraordinary planet. The term will be based around Constance Orbeck-Nilssen’s acclaimed book Why Am I Here?

Term one will be all about building skills that Junior Geckos need in order to perform with confidence and relish. Young people will develop improvisation skills by learning to listen and respond in the moment. Vocal exercises will develop their breath support and confidence in speaking. Physical exercises will develop the range of characters they can embody. A fun and dynamic acting boot camp.

Term 1 is a process term. This means classes are focused on introducing young people to the fundamental elements of performance through a powerful and relevant theme, and not on rehearsing for a performance outcome.

RELATED STORY: The Tourists – Matt Edgerton

Term 2:  A Focus on Performance – A Focus on Shakespeare

This term Barking Gecko Ensembles are all about Shakespeare!

The Junior Geckos will be building their own unique performance out of Shakespeare’s unforgettable language, amazing characters and ripping yarns. Vocal and physical gymnastics are the order of the day, as our Junior Geckos get their mouths around Shakespeare’s language and transform their bodies to create bold and exciting characters!

This is a performance-focussed term, so the term’s work will culminate in a short showing to family and friends.

Term 3: Ghosts, Spirits and the Supernatural

Term 3 at Barking Gecko is all about the spirit world. Barking Gecko is developing a play about ghosts, so everything this term is focussed on the spirit world.

Term 3 is a PROCESS term: This means we are focussed on introducing young people to the fundamental elements of acting through a powerful and relevant theme, and not on rehearsing for a performance outcome.

Journey of the term: Over a period of nine sessions, young people in Gecko Ensembles will explore the theme of Ghosts, Spirits and the Supernatural, in a fun environment where their ideas are valued. This will culminate in a short showing of work in process (not a fully rehearsed performance) to share what they have been working on. By the end of the term participants will have developed their ability to improvise and will have an increased confidence and range in their imaginative, vocal and physical expression.

2017 Little Gecko Ensemble – Themes archive

This is an archive of what we covered in previous terms in 2017 in the Little Gecko Ensembles. Term Four topics and content are now available here.

Term 3: Ghosts, Spirits and the Supernatural

Term 3 at Barking Gecko is all about the spirit world. Barking Gecko is developing a play about ghosts, so everything this term is focussed on the spirit world.

Term 3 is a process term: This means we are focussed on introducing young people to the fundamental elements of acting through a powerful and relevant theme, and not on rehearsing for a performance outcome.

Over a period of nine sessions, Little Gecko Ensembles will explore the theme of Ghosts, Spirits and the Supernatural, in a fun environment where their ideas are valued. This will culminate in a short showing of work in process (not a fully rehearsed performance) to share what they have been working on. By the end of the term participants will have developed their ability to improvise and will have an increased confidence and range in their imaginative, vocal and physical expression.

Term 2:  A Focus on Performance – You’re never to young for Shakespeare

This term Barking Gecko Ensembles are all about Shakespeare!

The Little Geckos’ window into Shakespeare will be through Gregory Rogers’ beautifully illustrated books The Boy, The Bear, The Baron, The Bard and A Midsummer Knight. Through a series of age-appropriate activities, the classes will explore Shakespeare’s wonderful imagined worlds, stunning stories, peerless language and unforgettable characters.

This is a performance-focussed term, so the term’s work will culminate in a short showing to family and friends.

Term 1: The Tourist

I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be.
-Douglas Adams

A big part of growing up is discovering that every place and person is unique. In honour of UNESCO’s international year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, term one will see Little Gecko Ensembles becoming imaginative tourists, exploring our beautiful and surprising world. Little Geckos will play with big, exciting questions about who they are and how they can share our extraordinary planet. The term will be based around Constance Orbeck-Nilssen’s acclaimed book Why Am I Here?

This term is all about using high quality literature to immerse children in rich and joyful imagined worlds. Through carefully structured drama activities, children will develop their physical, vocal and imaginative expression and learn to listen and respond appropriately in a drama environment.

Term 1 is a process term. This means classes are focused on introducing young people to the fundamental elements of performance through a powerful and relevant theme, and not on rehearsing for a performance outcome.

RELATED STORY: The Tourists – Matt Edgerton

Gecko Ensembles, New Term, New Beginnings

Hi, I’m Hannah and I’m Barking Gecko Theatre Company’s new Education Manager.

The children who joined us for their first ever Gecko Ensemble on Saturday weren’t the only ones having their first Gecko Ensembles experience. It was my first day too.  Never have I seen smiles so big and bright from both our Teaching Artists and Geckos. One of my favourite memories of the day was one of our first time Little Geckos, who at just five years old did not turn around to say a final goodbye to Mum and Dad and instead walked into the theatre with such confidence and assurance – we may have a real show stopper in our hands I think.

This term we are exploring the works of William Shakespeare from A Midsummer Night’s Dream to Macbeth. Every Gecko Ensemble whether Little, Junior or Senior will have an encounter with Shakespeare. We’ve crafted programs that let everyone have a taste of the fantastic language and storytelling that Shakespeare offers.

I was lucky enough to spend the day with our five ensembles at the University of Western Australia where “Thou foot-licker” was the phrase of the day. Exercises from both our Little and Senior Geckos were incredibly well received as our Geckos jumped enthusiastically into the world of Shakespeare. The volume of giggles coming from both Ensembles I think playing with Shakespeare’s insults may be a favourite warm up for the term.

I have heard only fantastic things from Teaching Artists Anna and Stevie at Kalamunda and Koorliny and Subiaco. I received some absolutely fantastic photos from Teaching Artists Rani up in Broome that brought an instant smile to my face, showing just how accessible Shakespeare is at all ages.

I am so excited to have joined the Gecko team and very much look forward to meeting everyone throughout the term. If you would like to talk about your enrolments or your child’s progress during the term please contact me via email or call the office 6212 9399.

 

 

 

 

 

Isn’t Shakespeare a bit heavy for 8 year olds?

I was so excited to hear this story from our amazing Broome Teaching Artist Rani Middleton that I had to share it with you. All of our Junior Gecko Ensembles around WA have been exploring The Tempest this term – check out what happened with Rani’s class! ME

I had one of those I-really-love-my-job moments the day before the Junior Gecko program was due to begin in Broome. My task for the day? I had to source a magician’s cloak and magic book to use for my teacher-in-role as Prospero, the magician in The Tempest.

After raiding my old costume room, (thanks St Mary’s College) I had found the garment. A long, heavy purple cloak with a large hood. Perfect for a mysterious magician. As for the magic book, I realised I could substitute my ancient, battered copy of Shakespeare’s Complete Works. Its ratty brown cover with faded gold print certainly looked magic.

Did Shakespeare write all this? An 11 year old Junior Gecko asks in wonder as he thumbs through the book the next day. And so begins our journey through The Tempest.

When I relayed to most people what the Junior Geckos were up to this term, I was inevitably asked the following question: Shakespeare’s a bit heavy for 8 year olds, isn’t it?

Think about it.

Love at first sight… A shipwreck… A stranded magician and his daughter on a magical island… A stinky monster… Clowns… Spirit Dogs… Betrayal and forgiveness…

Perfect for any year olds!

The real magic of the Junior Barking Gecko Term Two program on Shakespeare’s The Tempest is within the structure of the unit. It is designed to capture the students’ imagination and carefully foster their curiosity about the play.

First things first, we are introduced to the world of the play… Let’s sail a ship. Oh no – a storm! The ship is sinking, but magically we all survive completely intact washed up on a magical island!

Then we start to engage with the story – Would you kill your brother to become King? How do I woo the man of my dreams? If you had a magical slave – would you set them free?

By the time the text is introduced (during a wonderful session of hurling Shakespearean insults back and forth) the Geckos are invested, engaged and on a roll!

Ring the alarms!

The Broome Civic Centre’s alarm is blaring. Confused grey nomads are wandering in wondering where to vote. (It’s easy to confuse the Broome Civic Centre with the Broome Convention Centre if you’re travelling through). The mum who set the alarm off accidentally is frantically making calls on my phone to security guards across the country. Inside the hall, the alarm is merely white noise adding to the excitement already brewing. 20 minutes until the parents arrive and there are lines to rehearse, moves to practice, voices to warm up and costumes to be donned. It’s the Broome Junior Gecko Ensemble, ready to present their Shipwreck Scene from The Tempest by William Shakespeare. A two-minute carefully crafted performance that is merely the tip on the iceberg of what we’ve explored in the nine weeks of the term. The parents arrive through the foyer covering their ears from the din of the alarm. One set of grandparents has just flown all the way from the UK. Just as they are seated, the security guard arrives and I have to leave the little gathering: ‘why don’t you tell your parents a bit about the play?’ I suggest in parting.

The alarm is switched off!

As I hurry back, I can hear snippets of facts drifting through the hall…. “He lived on a magical island”… “Did you know Shakespeare wrote all his plays in the rhythm of five heartbeats?”… “He ended up throwing his magic book overboard”… And when I finally reach the group, the Geckos, with no prior prompting are already recreating the sound garden we created back in Week 5! And it’s in these unplanned, improvised moments where the performers can truly step up and shine.

Rani Middleton, Barking Gecko Teaching Artist, Broome

P.S. The Geckos performed their scene splendidly. So well in fact, the parents demanded a repeat!

Gecko Ensemble Program heads to Broome and Kalamunda.

Our mission under Artistic Director Matt Edgerton is to encourage everyone to embrace a creative life, filled with empathy curiosity and play and they’re making this vision a reality by bringing their Ensemble program to more locations across the state.

“We learn how to do things with others and work together to create something great.” – Tyler, Senior Gecko Ensemble 2015

Barking Gecko Theatre Company Ensembles offer children from age 5 – 17 the opportunity to participate in drama classes every week of the school term. This can complement school drama classes or offer a new pathway into performance for young people.

In first term 2016  we expanded to include the University of Western Australia along with the Subiaco Arts Centre and the Koorliny Arts Centre in Kwinana. In term two the Kalamunda Performing Arts Centre will host the company’s first hills based Ensemble.

Perth’s hills are renown for their creative communities and we believe we will find a warm welcome when ensembles commence on Saturday April 30.

We are uniquely placed to deliver high quality programs with a wealth of teaching experience amongst our staff, not least of which, Edgerton himself who has been a director at Bell Shakespeare and we get program guidance from Professor Robyn Ewing of the University of Sydney. Professor Ewing is an internationally regarded expert in the field of arts education.

The bold expansion of the program is not limited to the metropolitan area either as our first regional ensemble will begin on 30 April in Broome. Local teaching artist Rani Middleton will launch the program in the Kimberley region sharing the same program content as the Perth groups ensuring the same high standards are adhered to in regional WA as well as the city.

Barking Gecko Theatre Company Ensembles are presented with assistance form our Principal Community Partner Healthway, promoting the Smarter than Smoking message.

Find the Gecko Ensemble that right for you and enrol here.

Gecko Ensembles Full Steam Ahead!

2016 Ensemble Drama Workshops have begun with record breaking numbers.

We have two awesome Senior Gecko Ensembles (13-17 year olds) thrilled to take centre stage at The Dolphin Theatre, University of WA and Koorliny Arts Centre in Kwinana, as they hone their skills with our Acting Fundamental Intensive.

Junior Gecko Ensembles (8 -12 year olds) are bursting at the seams with 4 ensembles this term, including after school workshops at Subiaco Arts Centre and Saturdays at The Dolphin Theatre and Bradley Studio UWA, and Koorliny Arts Centre in Kwinana. Each ensemble is stepping inside the world of our upcoming production Bambert’s Book of Lost Stories.

Lots of new faces in our  Little Gecko Ensembles (5 – 7 year olds) at UWA and Subiaco Arts Centre, who are jumping, leaping, rolling and acting like little monkeys as they actively explore a traditional Chinese story called The Great Race to coincide with Chinese New Year Celebrations.

We’re thrilled to have the support of Smarter than Smoking and Healthway to support this expanding program. #SmarterThanSmoking.