Artists gave students permission to play
Several of the artists used silliness, eccentricity and ‘larger than life-ness’ to gently disrupt taken for granted ways of school thinking and doing. It also allowed children to experiment creatively with humour, the surreal and absurd. The use of serious play often produced moments of great hilarity which added to the sense of the special and unique nature of work with the artists.
Silliness sometimes had obvious links to direct and school-sanctioned learning: for example, storymaker Mike encouraged the children to ‘speak like bees’ starting every word with zzzz…, which not only took concentration but was also absurdly amusing to everyone involved. This was part of his continual word play, his appreciation of children’s sense of humour; he taught the children a new word each session that they then needed to use appropriately throughout – ‘loquacious’, for example, became incorporated into handkerchief characterisation and plot development.
The hyper-real, eccentric character of Story Lady deliberately invited connections between the fictitious and theatrical and everyday reality – themes that were central to the artistic project she set up with the children.
A selection of videos from our Vimeo channel on permission to play can be viewed below.