The Imagination Station
About the Project:
Commissioned by the Plymouth Cultural Education Partnership as part of With Flying Colours, a City-wide 3 year Playmaking project for young people, The Imagination Station is the name of our project; a project to co-author a brand-new show for ages 8-13 with young people across 5 schools in Plymouth (4 Primary & 1 Secondary). The project received additional support from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Starting in Spring 2020, the project has continued throughout the summer, culminating in Autumn 2020.
Visit the With Flying Colours website and see all of the work from Year 1 of the project here.
Phase 1- Content generation
We ran workshops across 4 of the 5 schools exploring the questions: who, what, where, when and why? This was to generate the content for the piece, such as types of characters who would feature, the location it would be set in and the questions it would ask the audience. We managed to do this stage of the project by March 2020, when we then had to finish due to Coronavirus.
Phase 2- How will we tell our story?
The Above Bounds team wanted the young people to decide which story we would tell. Our workshops had generated up to 15 possible options, which the team then narrowed down to 3 top choices based on the votes young people had given during our sessions. We asked our videographer Zoe Bloss to make 3 story videos for the show ideas, we sent these videos to the young people to vote on their favourite. The votes came back and -you've guessed it- they were overwhelmingly in favour for- The Golden Penguin! So, the team set to work writing the chosen story into a poem. Helen asked our illustrator Clare Willcocks to create images to accompany the words, which you can see here in this book!
Phase 3- Creating a Safe Performance
The Above Bounds team then began the task of deciding 'how' we could tell the story of The Golden Penguin safely, taking social distancing into consideration. Chloe Benbow, the designer on the project, specialises in creating big puppets which walkabout streets and festivals in the UK. With this in mind, the team decided to make some of the characters from the story into big puppets- the Polar Bear and the Golden Penguin. The team then set to work making the story of The Golden Penguin into an audiobook- so that young people in schools could listen to the story in their classrooms, before looking outside their windows to see the puppets from the story. We took this performance back into the With Flying Colours partner schools in October 2020. You can see some photographs below!
Above Bounds Producer/Artistic Director Helen Bovey
Direction & Dramaturgy Nicole Redfern
Co-authored by Chelsea Vincent & Helen Bovey
Music by Joshua Lucas
Sound Design Daniel Harvey
Puppet Design & Construction Chloe Benbow
Outreach & Movement Victoria Horan
Videography Zoe Bloss
Illustrations Clare Willcocks