Children at St George the Martyr Primary School, London learned Spanish the creative way: through exploring the music and culture of different countries where Spanish is spoken. I led a team of practitioners to deliver these sessions. Each bespoke 6-week project focused on a different country, and culminated in a performance including music, dance, drama and artwork: all in Spanish!
I believe that language learning is an essential part of education. But language learning is far more than grammar and phonetics. By learning a language we see the world through the eyes of a different culture. And what better way to learn than be totally immersed in the music and culture of the target language? I have been running a series of projects teaching Spanish, Portuguese and English as a foreign language through the music and the arts.
Y4 rehearsing for their show 'Los Andes' with practitioners Rachel Hayter, Camilo Menjura and Alinta Sara.
CREATIVE ENGLISH COMMUNITY PROJECT
Creative English was a project with a group of women from the Latin American Women's Rights service (LAWRS) which used music, drama and visual art to teach English. Classes were centred around the theme of street markets and memory, inspired by the popular literature tradition of 'Literatura de Cordel' in Brazil and the historic Bartholomew Fair in London. I led the project in collaboration with visual artist Jum Faruq and writer Suzie Boswell. We made puppets and prints, wrote a rap, sung a few songs and told many stories...
SPANISH THROUGH THE ARTS
JULIO OTONI COMMUNITY CENTRE, RIO DE JANEIRO
Publicity the good old-fashioned way!
Capoeira on the roof of Casa 579 before the show
Children putting their outfits on for their final show
Cinderella cast and volunteers
Rehearsals start at the Julio Otoni community centre
After the first performance of Cinderella, Julio Otoni community centre
'Cinderella' aimed to teach English to children aged 5-11 through music, drama and movement. Heading a team of volunteers, I wrote and directed the play, which was set in a favela of Rio.
The children contributed to many ideas, suggesting that the popstar Thiaguinho was prince charming and Lady Gaga was the fairy godmother. The ball featured a 'baile funk' dance, where Cinderella left her Havaiana flip-flop.
Read more about the Cinderella project in my blog:
STORIES ON A STRING
A co-production by Polyglot Arts & Dotted Line Theatre, which included educational workshops based around Brazilian folklore.
See Stories on a String for more info.