I had the pleasure of being part of ŻiguŻajg Festival in November 2016. My company Peut-Être Theatre performed in the festival with our show Shh...Bang!
We were excited to meet very enthusiastic audiences of schools and family who were all so positive about the festival's work and programme.
As part of our visit in Valletta I was asked to speak at the ACMlab on “Inspiring Young Audiences” to discuss my work and especially focus on how to create an original repertoire and produce relevant resource pack.
I spoke about Peut-Être's mission to create unforgettable early theatrical experiences for young audiences and how we aim for our shows to effectively combine the visual, the physical and the musical for the enjoyment and inspiration of children and families. Therefore we are working with artists from diverse backgrounds and trainings, combining the disciplines of dance, theatre, circus, mime, music and live projections. This broad diversity is forging an idiosyncratic physical style, which constitutes the company’s signature.
A key point I discussed was how we tend to include a development period where children are invited to contribute their ideas to the creative process.
I also discussed how we collaborate with organisations and individuals outside of the arts sector. For example, University we collaborated with the Oxford Natural History Museum, The Institute of Sound and Vibration, Great Ormond Street Hospital and The RSPB. These collaborations usually impact the research and the delivery hugely by opening the creative team to new information and ways of thinking.
Another key point I discussed was our ethos is to make our work accessible to children of all abilities and backgrounds, providing relaxed and audio described shows. Many times children with special educational needs and their families lack the opportunity to enjoy engagement with theatre and arts. I discussed how as a company we aim to bridge that gap and create shows that are highly visual and physical, to bridge the language barrier and communicate on a more sensory level.
Regarding resource materials, we usually produce an in-depth resource pack to share with teachers and carers which includes background information, further activities in the classroom and curriculum links. We also aim to provide a free programme to family audiences so children and their families can continue engaging with the work after the show.
I found the visit to Valletta really inspiring and loved seeing how fast the theatre sector is growing and how keen everyone was to soak up new influences from all the visiting companies.
We are all excited about our next visit to ŻiguŻajg and about seeing more high-quality Maltese work for children!