Our last session before Christmas really was absolutely packed!
Not only were we going to be watching the amazing Ian Lloyd Anderson and Bryan Burroughs in A Christmas Carol (with a public Q&A afterwards) but we also had a group of young people from a Direct Provision Service coming in and a drama workshop on adaptation in theatre.
It’s safe to say… we keep them busy!
First up, all the Council members arrived and were straight upstairs where we had the all-important task of writing and signing a rake of Christmas cards for the young people who were dropping in from Direct Provision. The Council wanted to make sure they had something to give each child so there were mars bars, snickers, randoms- the works! This was a really nice way to start the day because new young people always add a great energy to the mix. And it’s also really nice to see The Council host and make other children feel welcome in the space.
Our Council had no idea what Direct Provision was before today- so I was delighted that they also got some insight into the system and went home with a lot of questions about Ireland and how it handles the refugee and asylum seeking process. It was also really cool for me to get the suss on what these other young people thought of the show. They caught the 2 o’ clock performance while we were seeing the 4 o’clock so plenty of them gave me a couple of pointers on what to cover in my Q&A.
With that important business done and dusted, it was upstairs to run through our drama work. We’d done a session on adaptation before but it was good to refresh on it considering we were going to see a new interpretation of one of the most famous stories in the world- Scrooge! We spent a lot of the morning reading the opening of the text that we were about to see and discussing the differences between the stage, film and prose versions.
To round it off, the young people presented their own versions of Scrooge’s story and it was great to note how many choices they made that chimed with the choices in the version downstairs.
Following the performance- which the council loved- we had our first ever public Q&A. Usually, the Council get the performers and makers all to themselves up in their workshop- but considering it was Christmas, we decided to open it up. It was nice to host a Q&A with Joe Public present and I think we’ll stick to that form moving forward. Not only because more people get to access the discussion but also because the Council get to hear the different types of questions that come from adults and children alike.
After that, we sent on them on their very merry way with lots to look forward to in the New Year. - including the council being the Children's Jury for Fantastic Flix, the programme of family films curated by the the wonderful Audi Dublin International Film Festival! This has been organised by our amazing Duffy with Sarah Ahern at ADIFF - we will let you know how that goes!
Shaun Dunne is The Ark's Artist in Residence