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creating possibilities for disabled children

Large-scale Residency Experiences

Large-scale residencies give groups of children and young people the opportunity to take part in an extended immersive and interactive theatrical adventure where they get to shape the narrative. A large-scale residency can generally accommodate a group of around 20 young people and will include a team of around five Bamboozle facilitators, artists and technicians.

When Bamboozle first arrived and talked about the residency week, planning and building, I felt completely overwhelmed, but with your guidance it was painless and, I realised, very achievable. The residency itself was spectacular and all the learners and staff enjoyed the experience and could see the value of it. The resources were so simple – it had an immediate effect – I put lots of simple resources in my classroom for daily ‘play’ experiences immediately.

Teacher, Greenside School, Stevenage.

Typical project outline

  1. Planning & training day at school – the Bamboozle team spends a day at your school working with the staff that will be involved in the residency. The Bamboozle team introduces the Approach they’ll be using and together the whole group plans the theme of the adventure and the workshops that will be involved. The Bamboozle team also meets the young people who will take part in the residency.
  2. Off-site planning and preparation – the Bamboozle team prepares resources and works on scripts and music while the school team prepares as necessary with the student group that will be taking part. Usually, a member of staff will join the Bamboozle team at HQ in Leicester so that they can be fully involved in the residency.
  3. Build day – a large-scale residency usually takes place across an entire school week – if possible the Bamboozle team will access the school or theatre space on the Sunday to create the immersive environment for starting the adventure on Monday morning.
  4. Residency delivery days – we welcome the group and begin the story at the start of day one. We see where the adventure takes us and reach an end point at the close of day five.

As well as giving an introduction to the Bamboozle Approach on the planning days we also meet with staff at the end of each residency day to unpack the strategies that have been used and talk about how they can be applied in day-to-day practice.

As an alternative to the outline described above we have done week-long residencies where we take different, but smaller, groups of students on a one-day adventure in the theatrical environment. This format allows the school to offer the residency experience to multiple groups and can be useful if space is limited. Generally this format involves a build day on the Monday where staff work with the Bamboozle team to create the theatrical environment – giving them lots of useful techniques that can be transferred to the classroom. A one-day experience can be exciting and engaging but obviously doesn’t have the depth of a week-long adventure.

Residencies in theatres based on a mainstream show

Bamboozle has also created residencies based on large-scale mainstream theatre shows such as War Horse and 42nd Street.  Mainstream theatrical productions are not always easy for young people to access but with a residency experience children and young people have the time and space to explore a show at their own pace and in an immersive way. This sort of residency usually takes place in the theatre where the production is happening. The groups of young people visit from their school to take part in the residency which is run by Bamboozle and involves some of the cast and crew from the main show.

Examples of residency themes

A residency experience truly is a world of possibilities – these are just some of the adventures we’ve been on:

  • Macbeth – exploring the relationship between Macbeth and Banquo, meeting the witches on the blasted heath, creating spells, deciding how to dispatch the King… on one Macbeth residency the group decided they didn’t want to kill the King and, after a big fight scene, everyone made friends and had a celebratory feast!
  • The Check Point – in this residency the group had to complete a series of tasks in order to follow a character through a checkpoint in a war-torn environment – there were further adventures on the other side as the group helped the character to retrieve a stolen key and unlock a mystery.
  • The Tempest – in this adventure the group experienced the storm and ship wreck, they met Prospero, Ariel and Caliban and got involved with the machinations of their various schemes on the island.
  • The Poisoned Well – for this residency the group helped villagers whose well had been poisoned by a witch. The witch lived in an enchanted forest, which the group built, and then they took an assault course through the forest before facing a trial by ordeal and having the final show down with the witch.
  • Sun Woman and Moon Man – exploring a creation myth.

Large-scale residencies, as well as being exciting and immersive adventures, also provide the children taking part with many opportunities to extend their learning and gain confidence along the way.

Dates, venues and fees

Residencies usually take place at your school or in a theatre or community venue by arrangement. Each residency is designed specifically to suit your requirements. Fees start around £10,000 but costs depend largely on requirements.

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