New Victory Arts Break: Australia – Play

Whether you are playing, reading a story or traveling around your neighborhood, you’re observing things around you. In Week 2, Slingsby shows us how they gather inspiration from their surroundings when they create their original and immersive theatrical worlds. It is so exciting to imagine, create and explore new and old places.

In this week’s New Victory Arts Break, get ready to remember, create and play with different universes without even leaving your home! First, for inspiration, check out a glimpse of Slingsby’s The Tragical Life of Cheeseboy, which was on the New Victory stage in 2010.

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New Victory Arts Break Play

Imagining Worlds

10 – 30 minutes, Ages: 5 – 11

Sometimes, the only way to get to our favorite places is by following the map of our imaginations. Perhaps you would like to eat your way through Candy Cove, brave the Marshmallow Maze of a Million Dinosaurs, or share happiness and love in the Positivity Palace. In any of these imagined places, you’re guaranteed to meet colorful characters and creatures. Join New Victory Teaching Artist Ugo Anyanwu as he shows you how to visit and play with characters in the most magical places.

First, grab your New Victory Notebook! Then work on sketching out some of your ideas. Follow along with this template—print it out and fill it in, or create your own.

Australia Template

Here is our Dragon World sketch from New Victory staff member Siobhan:

An example of a world you can draw

Storyboard Your World

Now that you have an idea of what your world is, it’s time to ask: what happens there? Think about an exciting story to tell about these characters in this place—let’s play together!

Materials: Storybook worksheets, coloring utensils

Step 1: Have a conversation with your family to come up with your story! Ask each other the following questions:

  • Which of the characters you created in the above activity do you want your story to be about?
  • What does your main character want? For example, do they want:
    • To make a new best friend?
    • To get to a new place?
    • To conquer an evil villain?
  • From these questions, come up with the title of your story. Here are some examples:
    • “How Corner Dragon Got the Street Named After Her”
    • “The Tall, Tall Tale of the Kangaroo and the Gum Tree Race”
    • “How Sammy the Snail Made a Sandwich-Mobile”
    • “The Story of Delilah the Dolphin and Her Disco Dreams”

Step 2: Print out the storybook worksheets, or follow the structure in your New Victory Notebook! Add an illustration to your chosen title. Get creative!

Step 3: Now it’s time to write your tale. Every good story has a beginning, middle and end. Fill in the blanks by answering the following questions:

  • Introduction: Who is your character?
    You can use the information you thought up in the activity before.
  • Conflict: What do they want and why do they want it?
  • Action: What do they do to get what they want? Think:
    • Do they have to travel a long distance?
    • Do they need help from a friend?
    • Do they need to solve a mystery? How do they do that?
  • Resolution: Do they get it? What happens at the end? A celebration?

Using the prompts above, fill out each space on your storyboard. Then, illustrate each moment! Here is another example from Siobhan!

A storyboard example

Step 4: You did it! Now it’s time to share your story. Read it aloud to a family member or friend.

BONUS: Create multiple stories until each of the characters you created acts as the main character in their own story.

Now with all of this in mind, act out your story using the physical skills that Ugo demonstrated! Explore this place in real life. Meet your characters and say hello, or walk around and look at the scenery! Keep adding in details as the characters in this world teach you more about where they are from.

Want to bring your imagination to life large-scale? Listen to Wendy Todd (set designer for Slingsby’s Emil and the Detectives) talk about the creative development process when building a set for a play. Check out the sketches in the video below—how do you think creatives make their drawings come to life?

Keep exploring your imaginations with the following resources:

We have met such wonderful characters in our make-believe places. Now that we have imagined them, we can visit them at our leisure. Next week, we’ll continue exploring places that we miss, and maybe even bring memories to life in our very own homes.

New Victory Arts Break Supporters

New Victory Arts Break is funded, in part, by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.