29 March 2016, Mission Impressionable

T.O.P. S.E.C.R.E.T. Katrina and I met at 0900 hours. As I often do, when meeting at the Theatre Exchange office, I arrived a little earlier to grab a coffee and bacon roll from Waitrose. Now then. I don't want anybody thinking that that is a throwaway piece of information...it's really not.

Waitrose serve THE finest bacon rolls I have ever bought from any supermarket! Wonderfully crusty rolls served with 3 TASTY pieces of bacon in them....just amazing! What's more, it is fantastic fuel for a morning workshop requiring energy!

The workshop today was titled MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and it drew a nice sized attendance of lovely kids fizzing with excitement and not afraid to get stuck in!

As with all Theatre Exchange workshops, we introduced ourselves to the young attendees when we started. Once we had done a warm up, we told them that we WERE NOT, in fact, Kat and Duff from Theatre Exchange but that we were secret agents, who were there to train them to be spies and test their abilities. They liked this, I think. It was like an extra shot of excitement into an already energy filled room.

It might just have been the fact that we put on dark glasses as we revealed this to them!? Throughout the workshop we also kept putting our fingers to our ears.......naturally because we were receiving Intel updates from HQ! Silly indeed but it all fit the workshop nicely.

Throughout the morning we played lots of spy linked drama and team games. I think my personal favourite was the laser beam game. Putting our young spies in pairs on opposite sides of the room, we told them to lock eyes. This connection was now a laser beam. It was then one person’s job to make it through all of the laser beams without setting one off.......otherwise the laser would beep when eye contact was broken. The laser beams crouched, stood tall and some lasers even crackled and fizzed!! We had diagonals too and it was great to see our team really getting in to it and figuring out their best route. I could almost see the lasers as they did their best to make it through! Which they did. They REALLY bought in to it, it was great to see.

The icing on the cake was that we played the Mission Impossible theme while they did it and it added a fantastic soundtrack to the kid's work! Next time, I might take pieces of bright coloured wool to add visual to the game. But it certainly did not lack for the fact that we didn't have any.

We told the team that, as spies, they would often have to work deep undercover in order to avoid their true identity being discovered. They all chose a piece of costume and then took some time to decide on their 'cover' story before we interrogated them in front of the group. This was a lot of fun and again, they all really thought about it and came up with pretty credible alter egos......They were ace!

One boy had us all in fits of laughter with his comic performance, it was ace! He had chosen a European based accent and spoke to us in broken English. When interrogated he offered up some crazy answers and we all loved it! He was deep undercover!

The team went on to design their very own spy gadgets which were great and really inventive and they told us all about them in a show-and-tell. They then got in to groups to create short pieces of drama for us all to watch and some used their gadget ideas too. They were all great. Really polite, engaging and friendly and a pleasure to work with them. Before joining Theatre Exchange, I had never worked quite so directly with children before. I love it. It is great to see them getting fired up and energised and....well....acting!!

Duff Eynon – Actor, Theatre Exchange

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29 March 2016, Mission Impressionable

T.O.P. S.E.C.R.E.T. Katrina and I met at 0900 hours. As I often do, when meeting at the Theatre Exchange office, I arrived a little earlier to grab a coffee and bacon roll from Waitrose. Now then. I don't want anybody thinking that that is a throwaway piece of information...it's really not.

Waitrose serve THE finest bacon rolls I have ever bought from any supermarket! Wonderfully crusty rolls served with 3 TASTY pieces of bacon in them....just amazing! What's more, it is fantastic fuel for a morning workshop requiring energy!

The workshop today was titled MISSION IMPOSSIBLE and it drew a nice sized attendance of lovely kids fizzing with excitement and not afraid to get stuck in!

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