Great British Summer Resources - Part 1
With the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in June and the Olympic Torch Relay leading to the 2012 London Olympic Games in the summer, these events will provide many opportunities for Churches and groups to get involved in the community.
This mini series will hopefully give you some ideas and help on programmes and performances to encourage you to participate in events with a relevant programme that is linked to the main theme.
Beyond Gold Puppet Musical
This musical centres around the story of Grandpa Stan and how he learnt that there is something better than winning a gold medal, there is something Beyond Gold!
Journey with his grand children, Danny and Lydia, as they too learn this lesson. With a strong theme and message this is particularly suitable to present around big events such as the Olympics.
This British musical comes complete with a full recorded dialogue (recorded in the UK), staging ideas, production advice and full prop instructions. Approx. 50 minutes in length if all suggested songs used. First presented at the Beyond Gold European Puppet Ministry Festivals by the 2011 One Way UK Puppet Academy team.
Note: Suggested songs are all available from One Way UK and not included with the CD.
Get it ready now for a summer performance!
In this month's E-News the free script is for the Dog-in-a-Bag Puppet on Celebration and is suitable for services and Jubilee events where you want to include a gospel message.
RPM-Vol.1 Get a Crown
Perform this song with a group of male puppets and give them crowns to put on half way through the song.
RPM-Vol.15 Reign Over Me
Make up and choreograph a lively routine to go with this song.
It is good that we recognise and celebrate the reign of the queen but as Christians we can celebrate and share the good news that Jesus reigns over each one of us.
Many of the opportunities will involve performing outside e.g. on the route of the Olympic Torch Relay.
These can be great opportunities to witness but not without their challenges. When venturing outside the church it is very different to performing in a service within the four walls of the church.
Whilst you can sometimes enjoy the luxury of a hall, shed, marquee or gazebo it could very easily be just you in the middle of a field and if you are lucky one that hasn't recently been home to a herd of cattle! As well as the challenges on the ground, out there you can always guarantee that there will be weather! Lots of it, often unpredictable, very changeable and if doesn't wash you away it will try and blow you away instead. Having said all that, lets not back out but button up, get organised and get out there!
1. Planning in advance:
In addition to all your normal questions when taking enquiries for bookings for your team, performing outdoors does require additional planning and preparation.
When taking the booking:
a. Be clear as to their expectations of you. What times, how long and how often are you performance slots during the day? It may be just one or two or it could be every hour.
b. What do you require them to provide? Space, cover, chairs, table, platform, power supply or generator? The TRAmp sound systems can run off their own battery but not necessarily all day.
c. Do you want to have a collection bucket for money to support your team or to support another charitable cause? Ask for permission for this and plan how you are going to publicise what you are collecting for.
d. Are there other events/shows happening that you need to work round?
e. Do you need any entry passes to get on site and what time is access from?
2. Setting up:
The first and often the biggest questions are - Where are you going to set up the stage? and - How are you going to stop it from being blown away?
a. Setting up against a building or marquee will provide a good wind break for you as well as providing you with privacy and security from the back. Security is important not only for your puppet equipment and props but also for your teams personal effects. These all need to be safe whilst you are facing the other direction with your minds focused on the presentation. Cars etc can also provide this to some extent.
b. How do you stop your puppet stage from becoming a kite? There are a number of things you can do:
- Place heavy weights under each stand and tie the stand down to the weight.
- If on grass peg the stands down at the base or run guy lines down from the top.
- Tie the stands to the building, car, marquee or anything else close to hand.
- Wrap the bottom of the curtains in a bar or piece of wood and pin in place to stop the curtains blowing up.
- Fill the small laundry detergent bags with small stones and hang these from the back curtain to stop it from blowing around.
- To protect the puppets, use a large ground sheet or carpet to prevent the puppets from coming into contact with the grass/ground. If necessary have a "no shoe policy" inside the stage so dirt and grass isn't carried into the performance area.
- A beach type of shelter/tent can provide an invaluable area to store the puppets and props when not in use as it can be close at hand and also offer protection from above and below.
3. The programme:
Your audience will probably be very transient. There will be a wide variety of ages of people from very different backgrounds, most of whom are there to enjoy a bit of everything that is going on at the event. They are not necessarily going to want to sit through a 30 minute presentation. Lively, well known songs, in particular the parodies work really well. Using different characters and puppets also make a difference and stimulate the "What's going to happen next?" questions.
We have found that scripts don't tend to work as well as they require greater concentration and it is often necessary for you to be there from the very start.
It is key to keep the show moving. Ideally a puppet should be up in the stage all the time.
Using a headset mic with live voice this character can act as compare to your performance linking the items being performed whilst also promoting other groups, church activities as well as the charity or other cause you may be collecting for.
An alternative is to have a person up front to do the compare/linking role. This person should be clearly part of the team and can interact with the puppets or hold the audiences attention using solo puppetry, gospel illusions or ballooning. Whilst this is happening the rest of the group are getting ready and into position for the next item.
This is really important as you can attract a large group very quickly, but equally, lose it very quickly if there is an empty stage and nothing going on to see.
Don't forget, remember to pray before you perform.
4. Final thoughts:
Putting a sign up telling people when your next performance is will be a great help to many people who pass by your spot.
Have your contact details or diary to hand as you will often be asked about your availability for other events.
Don't forget to look after your team. Sun cream and drinks if it is hot.
These can be great fun team away days. When we have been doing a 25 minute performance six times through the day on the hour every hour, I have tried to split the team so that particularly the children do every other slot. Otherwise there is hardly time to get to the loo between shows let alone grab chance to have a bit of a look round!
Remember, be prepared, be realistic and be ready.
These can be great opportunities to reach out with the living word of God and bring the message of Jesus alive in an entertaining way to where people are.
Check out Part 2 for ideas linking to sport with the European Cup Finals and of course, the Olympics.
© 2013 One Way UK
One Way UK Ltd