Drama Workshop

Kelly Cunnane

Workshop description

"Una taka ndudu?" Do you want to eat a bug?! Speak Swahili in a play...

Become part of a Kenyan village for a day; collaborate, practice, dress, and perform!

From working with my Kenyan high school students to K - 8 at the Maine island school where I've worked as Art & Culture teacher for over ten years, simple theater projects have always been a mainstay for encouraging literacy, language acquisition, cultural immersion, group collaboration, and self-confidence with the satisfaction of sharing what we know with others.

Production of For You Are a Kenyan Child is a lively re-enactment of a day in a Kenyan village with lots of parts, noise, and language fun. Students become cows with bells and grandfather wearing his cap and an old coat tied with a rope. We sing the song of the morning goats and doves and dogs.

Time Estimate: Minimum 5 hours for informal performance public performance: 15 hrs whether the shortened version or the longer version, the drama project includes approximations of the following:

1) Theatre games: performers sing and chant in a circle, do impromptu exercises to establish a sturdy comfort level, group trust, and individual confidence. As a group, we mime animals and small scenarios. In pairs, we silently act out a mini-drama, everyone filling in the storyline! Solo, we race for our team, to grab the object, and give it life in a mini, spontaneous individual drama.

2) Collaborative interactive study of the "script", focusing on new language, expression, and movement, together we chant the Swahili phrases and figure out what and how we want the "characters" to convey to our "audience".

3) Parts and staging: each child is given a part with appreciation.

4) Memorization in small groups/ pairs: performers get comfortable with their parts and their particular authentic artifact...

5) Practice performance: several times! In slow-motion, too!

6) Dress rehearsal! Set the date, send out invitations, and one more time!

7) Performance! Perform for another grade, the teachers, or everyone!

Who is this workshop best suited for?

Grades 3 through 6

Quoted responses from workshop participants »
Workshop fee guidelines »
Performances of the Past

Lelboinet Secondary School, Kenya:

  • The Rift Valley Province Drama Festival Lelboinet Secondary School Kenya Third Place (out of twenty six schools; the school's very first performance!) Honorable Mention for Best English Speaking play, the second year

Beals Elementary School K-8

  • For You Are a Kenyan Child in collaboration with the University of Maine international students from Africa
  • Adaption of Stone Soup
  • Adaption of The Corn Maidens
  • Poetry on Stage

Author's picture books and other tales can be adapted for the stage.

"Wake up to green sunlight and rooster's call..."

Kelly Cunnane's Creative Cultural Workshops for Kids & Communities ~ www.kellycunnaneauthor.com

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