The Kam Tree
Princess and Ginger
Two Bum Bun
Badsey First School
Brays Book Bags
How to Catch a Moonbeam
Birmigham Creative Partnerships
Leighswood Inside out
CBSO Bonanza Project
For three years, until 2010, I was Early Years Development Worker at Birmingham REP, funded by Birmingham Family Learning Service. This was an exciting project, getting work for the very young on the agenda of the REP, and delivering a fair amount of interesting work in a wide range of settings....
Brays Special School
I have an ongoing link with Brays which has involved a number of extended projects since The Shooky.
Through Creative Partnerships, I have been working in this Infants School in Wednesbury, working alongside staff to support their creative curriculum. This has been a really enjoyable project, with the school an impressive one, already well committed to creative work. I particularly enjoy the way each class has an 'imaginary friend' of its own....
Another staff development project, working for five days alongside staff developing approaches to story-making.
In the summer I was back in these three PRUs, working on story-making, as well as performing The Sun and Moon. This is a short project repeating what we did in the centres during the Spring Term 2006, which involved making up stories...like The Rainbow and the Snake
With money from a Creative Ambitions grant from West Midlands Arts, I created a performance of this Korean folk tale, for KS1 and 2 pupils in 2003. The piece was developed through work with Choi Young Ai [Professor of Children's Drama at the Korean National University of the Arts] and puppeteer Clive Chandler. Design is by Craig Denston, with extra input coming from Kazekhstani-Korean musician Mira Yugai, and from Yang Hye Jung. The piece is directed by Ali Belbin, has been performed widely since 2003, and is now available for performance.
Most performances are in schools. There was a rare public appearance at the Buxton Puppet Festival in July 2005.
I have a number of bookings coming up for my giant puppets, most famous of which Big Sid, has his own page on this website. As well as him, I now have his companion Bella, and with my friend Clive Chandler, we also have fantastic Giant Punch and Judy figures for processions and big events. The most recent addition to the family is Brother Sid, who looks remarkably like Big Sid, but wearing a habit. He has made rousing appearances recently in Mediaeval Fairs at Ludlow, Cricklade , and Much Wenlock. He has recently been joined by his religious relation Brother Sid, who will next be appearing at Ludlow Mediaeval Fair on November 25th -26th 2006.
I'm Still Hungry
The 2009 Moby Duck play was a revisit for me of the famous Korean Story of The Sun and Moon. Featuring Ali Belbin, Toni Midlane and Lee Dong Gyu, it toured from Febraury to June to a great response.
This was a massive, wonderful and exhausting project, which happened in 2005, and returned in 2008. It was invited as the only UK performance at to visit the ASSITEJ World Congress in Adelaide 2008, as well as the Kijimuna Festival in Okinawa Japan.
It was a very significant project for me, and other people involved, and lead to further work which is still going on, notable Looking for Yoghurt.
Hanyong has it's own website at www.hanyong.co.uk., and there is much more about The Bridge on there.
The 2008 commission from Moby Duck, this was a new version of a traditional Korean story, which toured from January to May 2008. It once again featured a Korean performer, Park Young Ju, who was following in the footsteps of Yoon Won Hye Kim So Ri and Yang Hye Jung, who have each been in one of the last three plays that I did with Moby Duck. Young Ju is another fantastic performer - and she was joined in the Kam Tree by Bharti Patel and Matthew Readman. Design was once again by Olly Shapley.
Another big project happened over the course of 2006-7, and I am now writing up a report. This project for Birmingham REP, and Birmingham Family Learning Service, involved creating a play by working with young children [aged 2-4] and their families over six months. This was an ambitious project, which was seen as a pilot of a new way of working, bringing together the model created by The Shooky, and the work we have been doing in family learning, and the REP's Children project.
The project also has it's own website, which gives much more information.
I have co-written this for Women and Theatre - a companion piece to their recent 'Cervical Monologues'. It is a collection of monologues linked broadly by the theme of male cancers, as experienced and perceived by a wide range of men. The piece was co-written by Mike Aduwali, Terina Talbot and Janice Connolly, and was trailed very promisingly at this year's ArtsFest in September 2006. It opened at Port Vale FC in March and went on a tour of football clubs until April 2007. It was revived during the summer, and is now performed in repertoire by Women and Theatre.
In the first week of July 2007 I had an extended residency at Holly Hill in Frankley, creating a performance from Nursery and Reception children's stories within four days - a kind of rapid 'playmakers' project.
In 2007 I was acting as mentor on this scheme to a writer called Ali Oxtoby, from Malvern, who has written a lovely play called 'Kila and the Mango Monster.', as part of a new prject for Young Peoples theatre writers.
Two Bum Bun
A version of a traditional Korean story, Sugungga, about a rabbit with two bottoms [cut down from three in the original!] This toured very successfully from February to May 2007.
In April 2006, I spent an enjoyable day with the Reception Classes at Badsey First School, near Evesham in Worcestershire. The two fantastic stories they made up are now up on the site..... click here
I am currently acting as 'mentor' to a great group of locally based writers, as part of a national project. They are now working on a collaborative project based around some allotments, which will be shown publicly at the Rep in November 2006.
A Creative Partnerships project in Allens Croft Childrens Centre, in collaboration with Fierce, this has been a research project which has been videoed and recorded over several weeks. The children have created a rich story through their imaginary play in the setting, about an injured bird, and the nest-cutter who is to blame.... watch this space for information about the product of this research.
I spent July 2006 at Brays Special School, on a Creative Partnerships project creating stories and resources with staff. This has evolved into looking at story-bags, where the starting point for the bags is the objects within them, rather than the story. In the next few weeks we will be working with artist Sarah Jenkinson to create the resources.
Currently touring the country with Moby Duck [who commissioned Iaggi Boddari in 2004] is Tiger Trail, which was created through work with young children in a nursery in Seoul, and in St Andrews School in Wolverhampton. The play was performed by Bharti Patel and Kim So Ri [who played the young girl in The Bridge] and will be on tour until May 28th. It was a fantastic process and an excellent piece. I keep meaning to take the time to write a proper account of it,. When I have done that, I will post it here, I promise.
This is a long-term research project in which I am involved looking at arts with the very young. It is based on the Reggio Emilia approach. Last year my residencies were in Allens Croft Early Years Centre and 'The House that Jack Built' Day Nursery. In the autumn of 2004 there was a conference about the project. Also, the exhibition of children's work from Reggio itself was on display at the Custard Factory, with a series of workshops and other events during its stay.
My 'moonbeam' projects in 2003 were at a Stay and Play at Heathlands School, and at a Nursery School in Gossey Lane. I was working with children from 0-3. The project has many aspects to it, and has been completely fascinating. It seems likely to lead to quite a number of other projects and activities, as well as a number of publications, which are in progress.
Another Creative Partnerships project in which I am involved is with Book Communications, working in a cluster of schools in North Birmingham. In 2004 my work was in Beaufort School, where the project was working with staff of several schools on an arts approach to inclusion work, and with Year 6 in Heathlands. Then in the autumn there was a project in Paget School with Jag Kumar from Bhangra group Nachda Sansaar.
As part of the Black Country Creative Partnerships programme, I am involved in a long-term project at Leighswood Primary School, Aldridge. I will be working over a number of years, working with pupils and artists to change the environment of the school grounds, and the culture of imaginative play. The project will involve a range of artists, and a wide variety of projects. The first phase included the creation of a willow maze and a mosaic trail with Year 4, and stories with Reception, and I am once again collaborating with Claire Witcomb.
My most recent involvement was researching and writing a play with Year Six pupils, called 'Drybones' which was performed outside the school in June 2005. The performance was directed by Jon Morris, with Clare doing the design.
It was extremely successful, with the young people involved distinguishing themselves, in spite of being scheduled for the two worst June days in living memory.
Watch this space for Leighswood's plans for the next school year.
In autumn 2005, I worked with Year Five, on a new choral piece on the theme of 'Angels'.
This is a new puppet play which opened in Chester on September 4th, and will be touring nationally until April 2005. Continuing the Korean theme, it was commissioned by Moby Duck Theatre Company and I have written and directed the piece.
It is a wonderfully cross-cultural play, involving storyteller Lizzy Hughes, Kazhekhstani-Korean musician Mira Yugai, and Korean actor/puppeteer Yang Hye-Jung, [now replaced for the spring tour by Jim Duncombe] The puppets have been made by Craig Denston. It is based on a Korean traditional story. Contact me for tour details. There are some gorgeous photos in the gallery.
A new Korean play for Moby Duck 'Tiger Trail', is planned for 2006. This will be created by working with young children in Korea and the UK.
Iaggi Boddari Review from The Stage
During February to March I worked at Priestley Smith School in Perry Barr, on a project with Peter Churchill and a trombone player from the CBSO, Olwyn. This project was jointly run with Symphony Hall, and ended with a performance of a new piece of music with drama, created by Year 7 pupils.
This project is a DFES funded project, a collaboration between the QCA and the KS3 National Literary Strategy, and is run by a steering committee with representatives from Book Trust, the Poetry Society, NAWE, the Arts Council as well as Andrew Motion, the Poet Laureate.
I was last year involved as one of five writers nationwide, in a residency serving as a case-study for a series of national conferences in the spring. My schools were Golden Hillock, Park View and Sheldon Heath, and Year 8 students worked with me 'in person and online'. The work resulting from this project is viewable here, and there is a system enabling anyone to comment on draft work by the young writers. Please feel free to visit this part of the site and make comments.
[For more details about Writing Together, contact Nikki Marsh on 020-8516 2976 or email email@example.com]
In the city, there is a place, which should be a great place for children, full of exploration and fun - The Shooky. But it is not a good place to be......
I was commissioned by the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, to write a play for 5-7 year olds, which was on in the main Rep auditorium from July 7th - 17th 2004 A Creative Partnerships project, under the overall title, Exciting Minds, it involved working with Year 2 pupils in 5 local schools throughout the process.
The Shooky was directed by Toby Frow and the designer was Ben Stones
For Christmas 2004, Birmingham Rep commissioned me to write a Nativity Play, working with Year Six pupils at Nelson School, for performance in City Centre Gardens [behind the Rep] . The play was directed by Lorna Laidlaw, and will feature real animals and a mystery guest celebrity narrator - well Nick Owen from Midlands Today, actually. Visit the Rep website for details and tickets.
I was in Korea from March to June 2002, and back in July - see below, working as a ‘Visiting Professor of Theatre-in-Education’ - anyone who teaches in a University there is called 'professor'!
I was there before, in 1999, when I ran the Theatre-in-Education Module for the first time, as part of an MFA [Master's Degree] course on Theatre and Young People. I had three graduate students, and was working on a new course, the first of its kind in Korea. It was a fantastic opportunity and very interesting project, all started with a visit to this web-site, and a professor in Korea reading the TIE page! I was out there for ten weeks in all. There is a compilation of my e-mails to friends and family here on this site, as well as messages to primary schools, and several galleries of photos.
I received a Creative Ambitions Award from West Midlands Arts, which enabled me to commit extra time in Korea to studying arts in schools there, and establish links from which I hope many things may flow.
A long-term project for looked-after children, which was piloted in a home in Kings Heath Birmingham. This is an exciting and wide-ranging project with eight teenagers, and I worked on it for a year with visual artist, Claire Witcomb. During the summer, we took the youngsters on a week-long residential in Worcestershire. The second phase of the project involved me in working with textile artist Lorna Rose, in Viscount House - a brand new home on Castle Vale estate in North Birmingham. Although I have had to withdraw from this project due to an overload of commitments, the project will be continuing, and should prove very fruitful.
During Summer 2003 I was working on a summer school for the Birmingham Rep and the University of the First Age. This is a two week residency, with 20 young people, based at the Old Rep in Birmingham. It is creating a performance based on Hamlet, to shadow the Callisto Beixo production of the play at the Rep this autumn.
While I was in Seoul in 2002, I directed a production of Heads or Tails, or [동전던지기- Dong Jeon Deon Jigi] originally written for Big Brum in 1992, translated by Lee In Soo, on a tour of schools. This was a really interesting process, there are one or two photos of the production included in the Korean Photo galleries on this site. I am currently adapting the same play for BBC Radio.
During Summer 2003, I directed an ambitious production based on Beethoven's Fidelio for Grove School in Handsworth, Birmingham. Working with Chris O'Malley the school's music co-ordinator and Richard Jones of Poetry Adventures. The piece was devised and performed with pupils at the school, mostly Year Six, and presented in July. The production coincided with the school's centenary year, and was an extraordinarily ambitious project. It was a real success, and I hope it will mark the beginning of something...
In 2002 I was employed by BRB to develop a web-site of teachers resources to accompany David Bintley's ballet, 'Still Life' at the Penguin Café. The site is hosted by the Birmingham Grid for Learning, and was designed by Netmedia. Let me know what you think. This was a new venture for me.
I have a continuing link as Education Consultant to Birmingham Opera Company [previously known as CBTO], a small and exciting company set up in 1987 by Artistic Director Graham Vick, and now established as one of the most adventurous opera groups in the country.
BOC's main production for 2003 was Leonard Bernstein's 'Candide', another fantastically ambitious project performed in an old car factory, with a mixed community cast of hundreds.
I was barely involved this year, but have had a role in the development of the company's work in this direction. The first mega-project [in 2001] was Berg's Votzek [Wozzeck] involving very large numbers of people, and taking place in a warehouse in Ladywood, as well as in Liverpool, Sheffield and Porto, as part of the UK's contribution to Porto 2001 - European capital of Culture. In each venue, the project involved work with community groups who formed a huge and wonderfully diverse chorus. My main work was in Birmingham and Porto.
Fidelio adopted a similar approach, and opened in Birmingham in March 2002, just after I left for Korea. The production won a prestigious South Bank Show award.
Next year, the company takes another new direction , with a series of small Monteverdi projects, leading towards a big production of Ulysses Comes Home in 2005.
A new production of this play, which I wrote for Women and Theatre, toured locally during spring 2002, directed by Terina Talbot. I missed it, while I was in Korea, so let me know what you think if you saw it.
I returned to Korea in July, to take part in the World Congress of ASSITEJ, the association for children's theatre. I was able to attend thanks to help from the British Council. I ran a workshop on the work in Seoul, and we presented work by students, as well as a special TIE version of Dong Jeon Deon Jigi.
In December 2001 I directed a community version of Rossini's The Barber of Seville in Bow Boys School, East London, for performances on December 16th and 17th. This production was with the East London Metropolitan Opera Company [formerly New London Opera]. With professional singers and an orchestra of ten, the production involved boys from the school, and others from the local community, as singers, actors, musicians, designers and in all kinds of back stage roles. Workshops took place over a seven week period, with the full company involved for the last ten days. Click on these buttons for more information on a very successful and interesting project.
This was part of Birmingham Education Department's contribution to the city's 'Forward' Festival, and was an elaborate project involving the collection and recording of a hundred stories from different local people of all ages. I worked in St Joseph's School, Lozells School, Anglesey School and Aston Manor School - all in the Aston/Nechells area. CDs of the work of the community storytellers should soon be available.
This was a joint LEA project across the Midlands, which finished earlier in 2001, but was followed up and reflected in a major conference in December 2001. I was one of the 'Company of Artists' involved, with my work taking place in Birmingham, Walsall and Coventry. It included work in Bloomsbury Nursery School, [Pictured here, with Sharon Jones of Sister Tree] Fullbrook Nursery School, St Joseph's Infants, Torc High School in Tamworth, and Peter's Hill Primary School in Dudley. The projects were all linked to a sculpture by Tom Lomax, which was divided between the different schools. Visit the excellent website for more details.
In February, I re-worked a programme called 'Saving Hope' with Language Alive, a theatre-in-education company in Birmingham. It was about the Seventeenth Century 'Plague Village' of Eyam, in Derbyshire. The programme, which I wrote with the devising company, is for Years 5 and 6 [10-11year olds] and toured originally during 2002. It completed a limited tour of Catholic Partnership schools in Birmingham during March and April.
I worked throughout the last school year with a Lower School Boys Writing group at Archbishop Ilsley School in Acocks Green, in a repeat of a successful 1998-9 project. The work of the previous group is still published on this site.
I was Education Adviser to the Birmingham Hippodrome from 1996-2002, and still maintain good links with the theatre, which has recently re-opened after a massive and wonderful refurbishment. This attachment involved some really interesting work alongside, Cats, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera, as well as drafting the education policy contained within the the redevelopment proposal.
My last project for the Hippodrome was to write a Teachers Pack for Beauty and the Beast, but my absence in Korea prevented my involvement in the project work that was built round the piece. Further details about education projects at the Hippodrome from Richard Fielding
For the bulk of 2001 I was involved in a project which broke new ground, doing sustained art work with pre-school groups. My groups included a weekly visit to a group in Pleck including children of 3 down to two months [and two pregnant women] The work involved a team of artists, and created some good things....
For me it involved working with Maggie, from Sister Tree, and learning some new songs, which I've just found at the excellent Early Birds Website.
Click on the title, for a page on each song, and then in the red box. If you have all the bells and whistles on your machine, you will find it plays for you......
Bow Boys School
Greet Primary School