Morning Has Broken

Posted on 26th July 2022

I am 8 years old and my sister is 10, I make her hold my hand as we walk into the building. “It will help build your confidence” is what I imagine my mum told me, or that was her reason for sending me along with my sister. My sister loved acting and singing and dancing, a drama club was perfect for her. I was quite happy just watching, analysing it all going on from afar.  The room was big and empty with widows that stretched up to the high ceilings and mirrors all along the back wall. I don’t remember much of my performance from that term, but I do remember singing Morning Has Broken very quietly while someone was dressed as a bird… I finished that term of youth theatre at Fairfield’s Art Centre in the July of 2004. Now, 18 years later, I work for Proteus and assist with the youth theatre sessions, often in the mirrored room with tall windows where I had attended drama club. I have never made anyone sing Morning Has Broken…

It is often encouraged to either take them when they are young to the theatre or enrol them in classes because it can be hugely beneficial to young children. It helps to build confidence, make friends, boost their creativity and improve emotional intelligence. University of London developmental psychologist Dr Natasha Kirkham explains: “when people behave similarly, they perceive each other as more alike, which in turn creates a sense of connection or attachment. Going to the theatre with family and friends can therefore offer the potential of promoting relationships, in addition to the already known benefits of spending time as a family.” And did you know that attending a theatre show together will synchronise heart rates and from this creates a close connection? So, the emotional development of a child can be helped by going to the theatre. It’s also a learning tool though. For years we have known that children learn through play so many theatre performances for young children have an element of social interaction, whether it’s a classic “he’s behind you” at the panto or a more unique experience like meeting a turtle and watching her baby’s hatch in a ScratchBuilt Productions show. 

With everything we now know about learning through play, sensory theatre shows for children have become a popular teaching tool. Children can learn about any topic through interaction, touch and sound, along with captivating visuals of a show created through light, props, characters and puppets. The children are encouraged to use all their senses because the show has been made to fully emerge its audience. The last year Proteus x ScratchBuilt summer show ‘You Need a Holiday’ took families away to the deep oceans, the golden beaches and into the wide sky. We watched baby turtles hatching on the sand and scurrying to the water’s edge, we made friends with the sea and the creatures who live there. We felt sand between our toes, heard the ocean’s waves, and helped a shipwrecked pirate find his way home! One child engaged all their senses and tried to taste the coconuts! We would not recommend licking a coconut which hasn’t been opened, the child described the texture as “really rough”.

This summer we’re doing it all again, but where shall we go? ‘Let’s Go on Holiday!’ is a brand new, fantastical, theatrical and immersive adventure for children aged 0-7 and their families. Come and play, learn, watch and enjoy children’s theatre at Proteus Creation Space, where we always have something going on. Since being part of Proteus, I have seen how passionate this place really is about children’s theatre. And by that I mean theatre shows specifically created for children and our popular and inclusive youth theatre, where young people can take part and learn, I’m not just expressing my love for Bugsy Malone… 

By Isobel Smith




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