Keeping Creative at Home: How to turn your kitchen into a castle

19 May 2020

Writer and performer Amy Gwilliam has long sought unusual spaces in which to perform theatre. Here she explores how to create a show in your own home

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Image credit: Freepik

Whether you're a teacher, a parent, or both, we hope our Keeping Creative at Home blog series will help you and your children through this tricky period of adjustment.

We're aware there's currently a lot of pressure on parents in particular around home education. So, first and foremost, all of the activities in this series are designed to be fun, creative experiences for your children (and hopefully for you too!) – but there is also potential for learning in all of them.

Remember to share your Keeping Creative at Home creations using the #KeepingCreativeatHome hashtag – we'd love to see what you've been up to!

Whatever age we may be, home is the place where we can have some of our most imaginative ideas. It’s that place where no one is watching, and we are safe to be as silly and sensational as we like. With bed sheets and bookshelves – in high heels and hidden spaces – we can invent all kinds of stories and play them out as we please.

And at this moment in our lives, as restrictions are placed on what we can do outside, there is an opportunity to turn inside for inspiration. It is amazing what we can create within our four walls, and who we can invite!

Here are some ways of creating a show in your own home.

1. From Kitchen to Castle

This is an activity which asks us to transform a familiar space into something entirely fantastic. Ask your children or students to pick a room in the home (preferably one you’re not using!) and to decide on what it becomes. E.g. the kitchen becomes a castle, or the bathroom becomes a spaceship. Once they have decided, ask them to create a story which takes place here.

They can perform this to you and/or they can film it and then share it with friends and family members living elsewhere.

Want to go further? Try this:

The National Theatre

2. The New Next Door Neighbour

This activity is fun for inventing and performing characters. It can be played with or without costume pieces.

If with costume, ask your children or students to choose something they would never normally wear. Alternatively, set up a box of costumes which they can randomly select from.

Set up a space where the character can enter through a door.

One person leaves the room, makes a quick change into their costume, and knocks on the door. Somebody answers the door. The character they meet introduces themselves as your new next door neighbour. You then invite them in for a cup of tea, and ask them questions to find as much out about this character as possible.

Encourage your child to think about the voice and body language of their character, and to really enjoy inventing the story of their character’s life.

It is possible that another new next door neighbour arrives, and you end up with a brilliant tea party of people!

Want to go further? Try this:

Michael Rosen performs We're Going on a Bear Hunt

3. An Extraordinary Journey

This activity inspires the making of a promenade performance – ‘promenade’ meaning where the audience is invited to move through multiple spaces.

Using the entire home (where permitted!), children are asked to make a performance that takes us on an ‘extraordinary journey’. Maybe each room is a different location, or marks different phases in this adventure. Encourage them to use furniture as obstacles, e.g. you have to crawl under the table, hide behind the curtains etc.

When they have imagined and rehearsed this extraordinary journey, they are ready to take their audience on it.

It can be performed live and/or filmed!

Want to go further? Try this:

Keeping Creative at Home: How to get moving

4. The Tiny Objects Show

Ask your children or students to find five small objects in the home. They can be their own toys or completely random objects (the latter is more fun for older children). Ask them to lay them out on a flat surface and then think of what characters each object might be. E.g. a whisk might be a famous superstar. A candle might be a priest.

Then ask them to invent a story which takes place between these five characters, and to act it out using the objects. They may want to incorporate other props and make a set.

Want to go further? Try this:

Royal Opera House Toys Tableau

5. The Recycled Theatre Challenge

Using materials from the recycling bin, invite children to create a mini theatre space – a model of what might become a larger theatre space.

Once they are ready to unveil their design, you can ask them the title of the show, and what happens in it.

They may like to perform it with tiny models of actors.

Want to go further? Try this:

Junk Jodie Arts and Crafts

6. No Television Today!

There has been a power cut. There will be no television today! Instead, your children/students have to perform everything that would normally be on television – the drama, the comedy, the adverts, the news.

This activity works if children to prepare a programme in advance, or equally well as a totally improvised game. In this case, you can put the titles of shows in a hat and when picked out, the children (and/or adults) have to act out.

It is fun to have some props and costumes to hand.

Want to go further? Try this:

Little Angel Theatre Shadow Puppetry

Want further inspiration for Drama Games at home?

Try these:

Want to watch theatre performances online for more inspiration?

Try these:

Amy Gwilliam is theatre-maker, performer and facilitator based in London.


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