A great resource for Delight’s programmes are the instructional videos which support the teachers with in-school delivery. I went along to the filming of the Delight in Shakespeare videos with the Guildford Shakespeare Company to find out how it’s done. By Ella Breen
This was quite an intensive day of filming with lots of content and takes – especially compared to the Delight in Dance filming, which I had previously attended.
We filmed in The Mill Studio of the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford. The venue was made good use of – brick walls and curtains became stage entrances and exits, chairs became props and the theatre lighting helped to create stage atmosphere.
The script was very layered and it got a bit confusing. At points it was difficult to determine if mistakes were intentional examples inserted for the children to learn from or actual slip ups. However, towards the end it all fell into place and worked well! Watching the actors perform the Witches scene from Macbeth using different styles of acting was very entertaining – I think the children will really enjoy watching this.
It was great to see how a professional theatre company explains the acting skills and techniques in a way that primary aged children can engage with.
Between takes, I caught up with two members of the Guildford Shakespeare Company team to get some insight into how they got started and their involvement with the Delight in Shakespeare project.
Matt Pinches (Cofounder): “I’m one of the two cofounders and producers at Guilford Shakespeare Company. We founded the company 15 years ago and I am so proud of the journey the company – and everybody who we have come in contact with – has been on.
“We work with some incredibly talented individuals whether that’s actors, directors, designers, choreographers, or writers. It’s a huge honour to work with so many wonderful people. It’s great just to make theatre either for big audiences or for school audiences, it’s a real pleasure.”
Ant Stones (Head of Education): “I’ve been working with Delight for seven years now, so this is our seventh year of taking plays into schools. It’s got bigger and better every single year. During the pandemic we couldn’t do live shows – we filmed all our shows and the children filmed their shows. What’s really exciting is that, after a year off, we are getting back into the schools, which is going to be amazing!”
Josh Thompson, from Wiggly Line, directing the shot.
The group discuss the next shot.
The sound man takes a well-earned break.
The GSC actor’s rehearse the next shot.
I have some film and photography experience and am interested in developing this, so it was helpful for me to observe how the specialist camera, sound and lighting work together. It was particularly interesting to see how sensitive the sound equipment was to external noises such as cars and people outside the studio, and even pigeons!
Delight CEO Kathryn Mills laughing/sneezing.
Thanks to Josh Thompson at Wiggly Line the takes have now all been edited into 3-7 minute films – and they look great! We are all really looking forward to them being shown in schools when the programme restarts in January 2022.
Delight’s newest team members, Ella and Tasmin, take us behind the scenes as they settle in to their first few weeks. By Ella Breen.
Tasmin and I have joined the team at Delight on the Kickstart programme as the new Arts Programme Administration Assistant and Communications Assistant. Our first few weeks have been spent completing training with Artswork, who provided us with the work placement at Delight for the next six months. Anna and Jane have been great at welcoming us to the Artswork team, encouraging us to sit in on meetings and inviting guest speakers along to talk to the group.
The other Kickstart employees are on placements in various roles at locations such as Poole Museum, Southampton SEP, In Focus, and the New Carnival Company on the Isle of White.
Tasmin and I are very lucky to have the opportunity to work both from home and in the office, as the pandemic has made this impossible for many of the other Kickstarters. Working with people face to face, I find, helps massively to build connections with the team and focus on tasks.
At Delight, we’ve been busy preparing for the start of the new school year. Two of the projects we have been working on are the ‘Out of this World’ and ‘Rainforest Retreat’ art programmes. This preparation involves packing individual art boxes for pupils and teachers, so that they are ready to start creating when the programmes begin next term.
We have been preparing lots of example works, which teachers can use to show the children what they will be making. This includes space textures, wooden birds, jungle dioramas, and colourful creatures painted onto acetate. The process of making these has been really enjoyable as both Tasmin and I have a background in the creative arts and love to paint. It has also been useful to take part in the making side of the projects as we get a better understanding of what the children will be doing in the programmes and how it relates to our work.
CPD for Teachers
A big part of Delight’s programmes is the continued professional development (CPD) for teachers. This is an opportunity for teachers to learn and gain practical and transferrable skills in the creative arts to use in classrooms. We have had the chance to take part in the ‘Delight in Watts’, ‘Out of this World’, and ‘Delight in Dance’ CPD training sessions. it is useful for us as team members to attend these to see how the sessions are structured and how the teaching side works (and it’s also fun to take part in the activities).
We also met two of the education team from Delight’s art partner organisation, Watts Gallery Artists’ Village. It was exciting to hear their insight about the programme, to get information about logistics and to see the gallery grounds. The partnership Delight has with Watts Gallery is an amazing opportunity for schoolchildren, providing interactivity and a chance for them to display their work in the gallery at the end of the programme. I would have absolutely loved the opportunity to take part in something like this as a child interested in art!
After the October half term, the programmes will begin in schools. I will be following along closely with this and documenting the children and their projects, so stay tuned for some exciting updates about our programmes in the coming months.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted charities across the world, each forced to adapt and innovate in their own way. Aliyah Zaidi speaks to Delight, Paintbox and Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, to find out how, together, they navigated the new challenges.
When lockdown forced schools to close in March 2020 it posed an immediate threat to the education and wellbeing of children, the impact of which is only being truly understood now.
At the time the pandemic took hold, Delight was delivering arts education programmes in schools across Surrey, all of which had to stop with lockdown. Determined to respond to the challenge, Delight set about exploring new ways to deliver their programmes to support children, their families and schools through these difficult times.
Responding to COVID-19
In July 2020, Delight launched two COVID-19 emergency response programmes, Bags and Boxes of Delight.
Bags of Delight delivered 6,000 books directly to the homes of children in partnership with 17 primary schools, while Boxes of Books supported 6 schools in distributing 4,742 books to 1,654 children before they closed their doors. Box of Delight, created in partnership with Paintbox, delivered 2000 boxes, each containing four art activities for children to work through independently at home. The children’s final ‘Box of Delight’ creations – a collection of beautiful, individually decorated 3D birds – were assembled in ‘Swoop’, a special celebratory installation at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village.
Aliyah Zaidi: “What did you do when Covid-19 hit?“
Kathryn Mills, CEO Delight:“The long-established partnership we have with schools and our arts partners Paintbox and Watts Gallery – Artists’ – Village enabled us to respond quickly. It was all quite organic and involved a lot of back and forth on ideas. We knew we wanted to keep the ethos of our intensive programmes meaning that anything created had to include a ‘wow’ element, progressive learning outcomes, artistic learning, and some gentle academic learning throughout and a sharing opportunity.”
Aliyah: “How was Box of Delight developed and delivered?”
Hannah Maiya-Mills, Paintbox:“After realising the severity of the situation, our thoughts turned to how worrying it must be for children. We wanted to create something positive and fun to keep them occupied and engaged in their education.It also had to provide everything they could possibly need; we didn’t assume that the children had art materials of their own at home.
“We felt it was important to give clear, understandable instructions, so that every child, regardless of their age or ability, would be able to access the activities. A child may have been in a situation where their parents or carers were working, and so we needed to ensure that they could complete it on their own.”
Kathryn: “The Delight team worked incredibly hard and are really committed to making sure we could reach children and families. The teaching staff really supported the outreach element, getting the boxes out to the families at home. We have an incredible collective of arts companies we work with as well as freelance artists and it is the creative and agile mind of these organisations that enabled both our Boxes and Bags of Delight to be possible at all.”
Celebrating the Children’s Art at Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village
Aliyah:“How did the ‘Swoop’ exhibition come about?”
Sarah Jarvis, Watts Gallery – Artists’s Village:“There is a connection with birds, in that we have artwork of birds in the gallery. George Fredric Watts and Mary Watts, artists and founders of Watts Gallery, both had a love for nature and birds.For Box of Delight we made resource sheets introducing the gallery and the artwork in the gallery. We also helped to design an activity which would involve the children in creating something that they could contribute to the gallery through the Swoop exhibition.”
Hannah:“All the work we did to create the Boxes of Delight and get them to children happened when the gallery was closed due to covid. It lined up really nicely, so that when the school term finished in July the gallery had just reopened, and we could exhibit the children’s birds.
“Our hope was that the children visit the gallery with their family and find their bird in the exhibition. To make this easy for families, each Box of Delight included a ‘golden ticket’ – although access to the gallery is free for all children, adults are required to purchase a ticket. The golden ticket enabled one adult to visit the gallery free of charge.”
Shaping Delight’s Future
Aliyah:“How did the emergency response programmes shape Delight’s current programmes?”
Kathryn:“Our 2020-21 Bubbles of Delight programmes are a combination of everything we’ve learnt through lockdown and everything we learnt previously from our intensive programmes.
“These programme involves children enjoying a ‘wow’ experience in school, either a filmed play, dance performance or gallery tour, followed by creative sessions with dancers, actors, or visual artists, which can be delivered either in school or remotely as the situation requires. At the end of each programme the children can share their experience by filming or photographing their final artwork or performance.
“None of what we achieved would have been possible without the rapid support of many dedicated and passionate volunteers, sponsors, partners, and funders, who worked together to deliver solutions to what seemed an insurmountable situation.And for that we are extremely grateful.”
There is no doubt that this has been a tough year for charities and art education providers across the country, but what Delight, with their arts partners and schools, have achieved throughout the crisis proves that working together they can continue to make a positive impact on the lives of children within the framework of the ‘new normal’.