“The whole class enjoyed every aspect of the day… Gordon was brilliant with the children.”— Canal 2000, Nelson, Lancashire
Creeping Toad workshops come in all sorts of shapes and sizes from quiet reflective poetry workshops to wild animal dance events, from story-telling performances to cheerful puppetteering incidents. Bringing Creeping Toad into your community or organisation might mean a one day activity in a school, nature reserve or village hall or a longer residency building over several weeks to spectacular lantern processions, animated trails and community celebrations.
Whatever forms Toad celebrations take, they all share some common threads:
- they are designed to encourage people to look at their local environment, wildlife and environmental issues and explore their feelings about these
- they foster participants’ own creativity and confidence
- in school they will draw on activities from across the curriculum, offering opportunities to fuse discovery and investigation with literacy, technology, mathematics, art and more
- they are FUN!
Creeping Toad activities flow like water to occupy the time available…
Creeping Toad does a lot of short sessions for the public: working at environmental fayres or on site as an extra attraction designed to enrich visitor experiences, offering activities to encourage reflection and celebration of the site being visited.
Recent clients include the National Trust, Severn Trent Water, Environ, Buxton Museum and Art Gallery and English Nature.
Short school and community group sessions
Working in school for a day or two at a time, offering workshops like those described below. Recent clients have included pre-school groups, infant, junior and secondary schools, SureStart projects and out of school clubs
This is where we can really go to town, working with a site (and lots of groups perhaps), a single school or a whole community (and trying to involve as many people as possible) over a few days or weeks to build a powerful sense of relationship to “our place”. Activities here will encompass a range of ways of exploring the environment and artforms to express the results of that exploration. In recent years, Creeping Toad has participated in:
- Knowsley Creative Curriculum Project at Evelyn Primary School, 2003 (artist in residence)
- Marshalls Arm Nature Reserve Opening 2003 (artist in residence)
- Wellsprings of the Imagination 2003 (artistic director)
- The Flash Teapot Parade 2004 (artist in residence)
- Tree Dressing Day at SureStart Camborne, 2004, (artist in residence)
- In Pursuit of Love and Passion (administrator, workshop leader and Conductor of Despair) annually from 2002
- Enchanted Gardens, 2004 (artistic director)
- The Harvest Moon Fayre, 2005 (coordinator of the creative space)
- Stories Alive! a project embedding storytelling and storymaking in the work of 5 nursery schools in Burnley (lead artist)
- Collections in the Landscape: 2015 – 2017: cooridnating an events prohramme for Buxton Museum and Art Gallery during a refit of the museum – taking the Collection out into a wider world
Some of these events will appear soon in the Features section.
Activities that inspire and excite
Workshops are designed to suit your own particular needs. So rather than listing a set menu saying “these are the workshops to choose from”, here are some examples of recent activities that might park a flame within you or just get in touch with a whim, an idea, a set of objectives, or a school garden that needs a Bumblebee Frolic.
- storytelling performance: tales of animals and adventure, fierce flowers, friendly trees, strange enchantments and the bravery of children (several sessions over a day, or a single evening performance)
- playing with words: creating new stories and poems and presenting them in novel ways with poetry performances, costumed moments and wild books (single days or several days at a time)
- favourite places: small, delicate, intense, folded sculptures to hold the memory and delight of the places we cherish (a day workshop, often outdoors)
- flags, leaves and lanterns: willow, tissue, cloth and paint to hold impressions of trees, moments stories for processions and windows (single day workshops, often part of longer projects)
- puppet-making: big, small, quick puppets, 3-metre tall Tree puppets, shadows on screens, creatures under tables…..puppets to suit all Key Stages – and for grown-ups who want to play (anything from a quick “drop-in” to half-day and whole day workshops and 2 or 3 day specials for intricate or large puppets)
- masks: wolves and deer act out ancient lifecycles in a pine wood, the small creatures of a hedgerow creep into Assembly with their own story to tell (half day to make a whole day for richness, 2 days for making and performing)
- drama, dance and movement: creating performance out of a group’s own imaginations (dancing a water cycle in a day, the life story of a stone over several days)
Help, Advice and Words of Comfort
As you will be gathering, Creeping Toad has a lot of experience with fund-raising, project management and working with teams of artists and volunteers. If you are planning a project larger, wilder and more ambiitous than previously and you would like some help or someone to gather a team of exuberantly creative folk together, or even to recruit a consultant to advise you on the possibilities of what you might do: talk to us!