As part of an enrichment programme for Year 2 pupils, Aldwickbury’s Head of Drama and a group of Year 7 boys from the school visited The Vale and Linden Academies to lead a drama workshop in Winter Poetry. In all we led four classes of an hour length in which we used the text, ‘Stopping by a Wood on a Snowy Evening’ by Robert Frost.
The children were shown pictures of snowy woods and asked to find words that described the trees and then the snow. They offered a rich vocabulary which we used as the basis of a movement piece to create the wood and the snow falling down. Having filled the space with a snowy wood we split into groups, with the Aldwickbury boys each leading a group, to see if we could use our imagination to discover who the traveller might be, why he or she was travelling through the night and what the promises he or she had made were.
The setting of a story in the woods, at night can be frightening for young children so before embarking on our narratives we took the time to identify why the traveller might be a good person and there were a number of children in each class who thought they were good because they had noticed how beautiful the woods were and they were going to keep a promise.
Once we had a group of stories we recreated the woods and groups took turn to act them out.
All of the groups came up with a story that fit the poem but these were my personal favourites.
From the Vale, the traveler was: A daddy going to the North Pole to prove that Santa was real. A wood cutter getting fire wood for everybody. A snow plough driver who promised to clear the road so people could travel home for Christmas and they had to spoil the beautiful picture to make the road safe. Father Christmas delivering presents. A poacher who promised never to steal from these woods again.
From the Linden Academy the traveler was: A drum maker going to the castle to deliver a djembe drum as a Christmas gift for the Queen. Rescue rangers searching for two lost boys who hadn’t come home, the boys heard the horse’s harness bells and cried out for help. A girl who was chopping wood and she met run away horse, she made it stop and calmed it down. Someone rescuing the animals from the woods because there was a freak cold spell and all the animals couldn’t find safe shelter, the animals promised to return in the spring. A Daddy coming home for Christmas and he had lots of presents.
The stories were atmospheric, well-structured and charming. We didn’t have time to act all of them out in the woods but each group was able to act out their own story while developing it. Those we saw were thoroughly enjoyable. Our boys helped out and led the way wherever they were needed; encouraging everyone to share ideas, jumping into character, playing percussion even being a tree or swirling snow!
We were very proud of our boys, they were kind, encouraging, generous and led by example. Bravo!
Stopping by a Wood on a Snowy Evening, by Robert Frost.