Partners in Rhyme is a children’s theatre and storytelling company that my wife Lucy Curtin and I set up in 2007 to perform in schools and theatres and at festivals and other events. Our first show was Ardwenna the Fair, my rhymed story about an arrogant king and a magical princess.
The company is made up of Lucy as director/actor with myself as writer/actor, plus other performers and musicians – including our son Theo and daughter Tara! – as we need them. Lucy, who also works as a storyteller, trained at Webber Douglas, one of London’s leading drama schools. Most of our performers are professionally trained. Oh, and not everything we do is in rhyme!
Drama sessions for 9-12 year olds
Lucy runs these on Thursdays from 4.30–5.30 p.m. The sessions involve drama games to loosen the imagination and build cooperation within the group; and acting exercises and techniques. We then work on scenes from existing plays or write our own, moving towards doing full length plays. The sessions concentrate on building confidence, voice, creating characters and having fun!
Drama sessions for 13-15 year olds (LAMDA group)
We are running these on Mondays from 4.30–5.45 p.m. The sessions also involve games to loosen the imagination and build cooperation within the group; and building up acting and voice techniques. We then work on monologues and duologues from published plays leading towards taking a LAMDA exam.
For further details of free taster sessions and pricing, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lucy also teaches individual/ paired LAMDA examinations and coaches students for drama school auditions.
Here are a few pictures taken during our drama sessions and performances
Singing to the Sun
Singing to the Sun was aimed at children aged 5 to adult. It is our adaptation of Vivian French’s fable Singing to the Sun, which we have performed either as a stand-alone storytelling, lasting about half an hour, at festivals and fairs; or as the starting point for a session of creative activities for schoolchildren and EFL students. At the end of the follow-up session there was a presentation/ performance of work that the children created either individually or in groups.
In our work in schools our focus is literacy but we aim to show that ‘literacy’ encompasses creative expression and communication in the widest sense – embracing writing, performance, art, design and music. We may give the children a choice of activities that range from purely writing (e.g. writing a 500-word sequel or prequel to the story; writing a monologue for one of the characters; writing the story as a newsflash) to writing and performing (e.g. writing and acting a short scene as a play rather than a storytelling; writing a song for one of the characters); to more visual and art or craft-based activities (e.g. creating costumes for the characters, or depicting characters in 2-D or 3-D art).
We took the Singing to the Sun Project to Paignton Community Academy and spent two full days there working with year 7 students.
Drama workshops with EFL students
Partners in Rhyme also runs drama workshops with students of English as a Foreign Language. The sessions consisted of drama games and warm-ups, followed by working on simple scripts. Below you can see us in action performing Singing to the Sun to Russian EFL students, as well as some shots of a group of Spanish students working on scripts.
Performances of Singing to the Sun:
Language in Totnes (language school), Chapel House Studios, Totnes (Mar 4 and 6, 2014, performance+workshop with English-language students.)
Wood Sisters Winter Storytelling Festival, Dartington (Feb 2, 2014; public event.)
Totnes Library (Nov 30, 2013; public event.)
Quest UK festival, Newton Abbot (Jul 25–28, 2013; public event.)
Paignton Community Academy (Jun 14/21, 2013, school: Two-day creative/literacy sessions with Year 7.)
Respect Festival, Exeter (June 5, 2013; public event.)
Other recent Partners in Rhyme shows:
Ardwenna the Fair by Peter Bently.
Cats Ahoy! by Peter Bently.
Will’s Clogs (Lancashire tale).
All performed either as storytelling alone or storytelling plus workshop/creative activities.
Top: Lucy, alias Alfonso, with super cool pirate cats Amber and Tara before performing Cats Ahoy! at the Palace Theatre, Paignton, as part of the 2012 Telling Tales festival.
Left: Our Cats Ahoy! shows at the 2012 Winter Storytelling Festival in Dartington and the 2012 Quest Festival each lasted about an hour, including the performance of the story followed by a workshop making cat-pirate masks.