Sensory Theatre, Online!
May 31 2020
Head2Head Sensory Theatre is theatre made to be accessible for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
Covid-19 restrictions have meant the groups has had to stop touring but that has just made them more creative! Sara Cole, Head2Head’s artistic director, explains how.
Hello from Head2Head
Hello, I’m Sara, Artistic Director for Head2Head Sensory Theatre. We create accessible theatre for young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND). From curriculum-based installations, to our own take on well-known stories, to traditional family pantomimes.
During our holiday tours, we are joined at each venue by a young actor-volunteer with special needs. They play a character in the show and work alongside us. As COVID-19 has stopped us touring our new show ‘Come Trot to Camelot’ for the time being, we decided to try something new and filmed it instead.
You can still join in online!
So how does it work? Well, at the beginning of the video there is a list of bits and bobs to get together ready for the start of our multi-sensory adventure. You grab your props and join in the fun! Prefer a treasure-hunt style version? All you have to do is wait until you reach a moment when an actor asks you to find something and invites you to ‘press pause’ – then you can start the hunt. Perhaps you can be our actor-volunteer and become Merlin the Magician!
Here’s the YouTube link for the show https://youtu.be/bu2Xq5HN4YY and here’s how it came about …
Come Trot to Camelot – the rewrite
In late March, we were already remotely rehearsing ‘Come Trot to Camelot’ with the whole team in the hope that the tour might still go ahead. Trying to sing and Makaton sign over Zoom with 7 people is hilariously difficult! As the lockdown progressed, we realised the Easter tour was definitely not going to happen.
We didn’t want to disappoint our families, especially with the little accessible theatre provision for children with SEND there is anyway, and so the idea of filming the show was formed. I did a quick re-write of the script involving just two characters, Prince Artie and Sir Dagonet. Our shows usually have three actors, so the character of Sir Gawain was left out. It was agreed that me and Erica (my daughter and a member of the Head2Head team), would film the show as we live in the same house and social distancing would not be a problem
. We quickly had to get to grips with playing different characters and learning completely different lines to those rehearsed! My husband, Clive, who normally makes the sets and props for the shows, was roped in as cameraman.
Yes, we have a drawbridge at home..
Everything needed for the show was stashed around our house – living with a castle drawbridge in your front room is an interesting experience – I suggest you don’t try it! Apart from a few minor problems with weather, we managed to film the show over 5 days using our back garden, set up to look like the different places in our adventure, as well as one scene shot at woods a 10-minute walk away from home. It was challenging, but great fun – even the neighbours joined in on occasions shouting out ‘Huzzah!’ (watch the video, then you’ll see what I mean).
The video encourages the viewers to join in with jousting, dancing, becoming Will-o’-the-Wisps, collecting crystals, searching for the Casket of Sound, becoming a dragon, meeting the witch Morgana, collecting jewels, mending the round table, being knighted, doing a maypole dance and much, much more (watch the video, then you’ll see what I mean!)
We then sent all the footage – and there was quite a lot! – to Alana, another member of the acting team who is also good at film editing. Alana put all the different scenes together, incorporating the music, singing, signing, sensory moments, drone footage and graphics to make the final film. Thank you, Alana!
Lots of fun to be had!
We’ve had some lovely feedback and photos already:
“I took part. It really has made my week”
“What a great idea to make an online version and, as always, very interactive and easy to join in”
“What a fabulous way to spend the morning. My son, who has special needs, beamed from start to finish and made a fabulous Merlin” (photo right)
Are you ready to be Merlin?
If you’re ready to be Merlin too, here’s where you need to start your adventure https://youtu.be/bu2Xq5HN4YY.
We want to share this video with as many people as possible, so please do pass on the link to anyone you think would enjoy the experience. In these difficult times, we hope ‘Come Trot to Camelot’ will bring some accessible theatre-fun to your homes. Thank you.
Get in Touch!
Please do send us your comments and photos – we’d love to hear from you (firstname.lastname@example.org).
If you are new to Head2Head Sensory Theatre, then please take a look at our website http://www.head2headtheatre.co.uk/, and please follow us on social media: Facebook @head2headtheatre; Twitter @H2HTheatre & Instagram @head2headtheatre.
If you feel able to make a donation to our charity, then please visit our Facebook page where you will see a donation button on our pinned video post.
Head2Head Sensory Theatre [Charity No 1161873] has been working within the special needs’ community in London and SE England since 2006.
We offer flexible products that are based on interactive, immersive and sensory storytelling set at a pace that will allow participants to enjoy the experience at their own levels.
Our patrons are Samantha Renke (actress and disability campaigner) and Sally Phillips (actress and writer). In Sally’s own words on accessible theatre for children with disabilities, “The need to dream, hear and tell tales about the world is just as intense.”
Like this blog? Leave a comment below or click here to read more like it.
Have a question or a comment? Join our friendly forums here.
Write a review here to tell us about local places that are accessible or helping during the Covid-19 crisis.