Intro to Facilitation
NAYD recently ran a two-day Introduction to Drama Facilitation training weekend in Galway. It was for those wanting to introduce drama workshops with groups of young people but who may not have any practical experience.
Martin Lucey travelled up from Cork for the weekend and had this to say about the weekend.
This two–day intensive workshop-based training could not have come at a better time for me and my group at CDYS in Mallow, Co Cork. I had been volunteering with the Youth Service for a while and due to my background as an actor on stage and screen I wanted to introduce the kids to drama. But how????????
With these kids you only get one chance but I knew from experience that drama would be invaluable. The confidence building alone is worth the effort. But how????????
After all the experience I have it should be no trouble at all. Wrong.
Facilitating drama workshops has little to do with having an acting or theatre background, in fact you don’t need any experience but a willingness to plan, take some risks and a desire to improve the kids social and personal skills in a fun way.
Be there for nine thirty to start at ten we were told. We were and we did. I had decided to throw myself into the workshops, as I know how awkward and silly one can feel, especially in front of total strangers.
After about 10 to 15 minutes of warm-up exercises I was totally focussed on the 1st workshop, which turned out to be Getting to Know You. There wasn’t a second to lose as the two facilitators; Alan King and Colin Thornton, kept us on our toes both physically and mentally. Our Circle was a nice link between the various exercises and really did feel like Our Circle. (We form a circle alphabetically…really!) At tea break we chatted as if we knew each other all our lives.
Back promptly; no time to waste for the second workshop, Teamwork.
Following on from the introductory workshop we were now focussing on team exercises. This was perfect as we now were comfortable with each other and made working or playing together very enjoyable. This was all very low focus work and gave everybody a chance to get more and more at ease within the group.
After we all ate lunch together we returned for workshop 3: Taking Safe Risks With Drama. It does exactly what it says on the tin. After a morning where it was the same people (me included) volunteering, Alan and Colin invited others to do the same and it worked. Now there was a bit of competition to get a place on one of the performing exercises. The Rules of Improv exercise led us to a fantastic finale when there were hilarious results from the Sit, Stand and Kneel game.
We wound down the first day with exercises that didn’t require a lot of physical movement but did need some concentration. The title of this workshop was Containment on Chairs.
When day 2 started the following morning, we were all mixed up. Deliberately. After leading us in a warm-up, Alan and Colin then suggested the exercises. We were all over the place; first we were in a circle, then in pairs, then back to a circle, then in groups of four, then groups of three, then a circle.
We then looked at the way that particular group of exercises should be done. It was a great lesson.
For the last workshop Making it Your Own we had a go at delivering an exercise to the whole group and adding bits to the game. The feedback was uniform in that it looks easier than it is and you really have to plan if you are to give drama workshops.
The skills learned here are invaluable if you want to introduce drama techniques in a Youth Theatre, Youth Club or other settings. By using these drama exercises you can enhance the lives of the participants.
It’s not all about putting on plays and performing but also plays an important part in the social and personal development of all young people taking part.
All in all this was a fantastic experience and I cannot wait for more of it.
My sincere thanks to Colin and Alan and to the other participants for making this trip to the West very worthwhile. And it was free!