Mahjong, Tai Chi, & Dragons!
As part of an on-going programme of schools projects, HandMade Theatre collaborated with Netherfield School on a celebration of Chinese New Year. In a culturally explorative journey aboard the Flying Machine, the children were invited to travel to China in Session 1, partaking in traditional refreshments of green tea and chinese sweets, before examining a range of Chinese artifacts including a dragon puppet, an ancient lunch box, and a mahjong domino set. Following a question and answer session in which the children were asked to think about what the artifacts where made from and who might have used them, the group were able to take part in a movement activity focusing on the ancient art of Tai Chi. In a final exercise, the children took part in a Great Wall Challenge, working together in teams to see who could build the biggest, tallest wall.
Session 2 welcomed the children back to China for some traditional New Year celebrations. They were invited to try noodles and fortune cookies as a refreshment before exploring the Animals of the Chinese Zodiac and listening to traditional New Year stories, such as that of the monster Nian. The children were then invited to construct their own noise makers before acting out a story with a large dragon puppet. The project concluded with a celebratory New Year’s procession with dragon puppets and the children’s noise-makers, followed by a quiz on new knowledge of Chinese New Year.
The project was a fantastic way for the children of Netherfield School to explore, through a variety of musical, dramatic, literary and food-based activities, the traditions and cultural practices surrounding Chinese New Year.
Artists Involved: Amy Nicholson and Suzy Gunn