Exercises and Activities
All of the activities that we invite our participants to get involved in are originally exercises used within a drama environment. However, it is only the structure of these activities that we utilise, leaving the content free to adaptation. Therefore, we apply stimuli relevant to the chosen topic to the frame of the drama based activity. As facilitators, we are also willing and able to change the activities based on who attends our workshops as well as where the workshops are situated. For example, if the space provided is relatively small and so does not permit much movement, we are able to either adapt the activity or the workshop as a whole by delivering similar but more fitting exercises. Throughout our research, we have been increasingly interested in age-appropriateness within a workshop. Through experience and research into local schools’ curriculums, we have been able to develop an insight into what topics students are exposed to at which points in their academic careers. Therefore, using that knowledge we work to adapt our activities and performances to best fit our audiences. Staying integral to the drama background we work from, our exercises are rooted in a kinaesthetic way of learning.
We strongly work to encourage a kinaesthetic engagement throughout the workshops to promote a new way of connecting with and learning about a specific topic. Due to the nature of RSE as a subject, some students may disengage from it easily. This may be due to a lack of interest or a sense of awkwardness/taboo surrounding the area; we aim to eliminate these obstacles through making the way they learn about RSE fun and relaxed, hopefully increasing engagement. To consolidate this, we follow the activities up with a quick reflection that benefits both participant and facilitator. It allows the participant to process what they have just experienced while also applying it to the topic of the workshop and it allows the facilitator to see whether or not the students are engaging sufficiently with the given activities.
In order to provide our participants with an interesting and beneficial workshop, we needed to make sure that our exercises were tailored to suit both the topic and the students. Therefore, we created a structure for our workshops to follow, with each activity providing a different purpose. Therefore, our first exercise of the workshop is delivered with the intention to ‘break the ice’. For example, we often use ‘Seconds to Shake’; an activity wherein the group are given a small amount of time to shake the hands of everyone in the group. Due to its fast paced nature, this exercise is not always possible in every space. Therefore, we often use another activity called ‘Change Places If’. This exercise is often even more useful within the workshop as it also provides us with the opportunity to introduce the workshop topic.
Once the group have settled, we then begin to gently explore the topic under discussion. This happens through another game that lends itself nicely to the areas surrounding the topic. For example, ‘Friendly Follower’ has been used for this part of the Consent workshop. ‘Friendly Follower’ consists of the participants leading one another and reading the other members behaviour to work in harmony. One participant is asked to lead the other through the space, first with just their hand, then with one finger and then only with their voice. Throughout these exercises, they must be aware of what their partner is comfortable with doing and what they are not, moving accordingly. Doing an exercise such as this allows the participants to consider how that exercise, both leading and being led, made them feel and what needed to happen between the two in order to keep them both comfortable. These acknowledgments will then be revisited later in the workshop.
We tend to then lead them into an exercise that deals with the topic in more of an up-front manner. For example, in our Body Image workshop, the exercise we facilitate is one where the participants are asked to consider what the term ‘Body Image’ means to them, with them then conducting those insights into a physical freeze frame. This allows the participants to personalise the exercise, therefore being able to input and express their opinions on the subject.
Once these two main exercises have been completed, we then bring the participants’ energy to a level of focus, supplying each team with a mind map that asks them to consider the notion of healthy relationships. Using this technique creates the opportunity for the participants to reflect on what they have so far experienced and apply it to the basis of the workshop. These mind maps are then used as a further source of reflection for the final part of the workshop. Before we end on a discussion, the participants watch a short scenario, performed by the facilitators, that represents the topic of the workshop. The performance allows the individuals to use the knowledge they have obtained to analyse what they are seeing within the performance, helping them to make informed decisions on what the characters could do about their situations and how to overcome the challenges.