New Victory Arts Break: Europe – Discover

It is time for takeoff! We are now traveling from South America to Europe. This year, all around the world, performing artists continue to do what they do best: perform! As we explore Europe, you might recognize some companies from their time at the New Victory. Let’s discover what these artists have been dreaming up this year, and check out some of the cool stuff they have available for you to see, explore and play with online!

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Arts Break Europe Discover

Meet the Artists

Europe is home to 47 countries (which is a lot, even though they are the world’s second smallest continent!). There are so many artists making great work here—we wish we could explore them all! Here is a taste of some exciting work being explored to get you interested to learn more:

Europe Artists Triptych

We will explore the tastes of continental Europe in a bit, but to begin, let’s start in the United Kingdom in the country of England. England is a big place, and London is the country’s capital. It’s the largest city in the United Kingdom! Let’s zoom in on one company in particular from London—Oily Cart. These theater artists make inclusive, sensorial and personalized work for families. You might remember them from the New Victory stage in 2011 when they performed their puppetry show Ring a Ding Ding. Watch this video to meet their Artistic Director, Ellie, as she tells us more about the company’s work as well as everyday life in London:

Grab your New Victory Notebook. Write down what you noticed:

  • Ellie loves to listen to and play music (how cool is that bass?!). Do you play an instrument? If you could learn any instrument in the world, which one would you learn and why?
  • Did you notice that there were a few familiar animals in London that we also see in NYC and the United States? Which ones did you notice?
  • Ellie lives in a cool warehouse with seven housemates. If you had to pick seven roommates from the people you know, who would they be and why?

Jellyfish Party

We don’t know about you all, but we were pretty jelly of Ellie’s jellyfish party…so let’s throw our own! We can turn our spaces into a wavy wonderland and go under the sea with some homemade jellyfish!

Step One: Make some jellyfish decor. Follow along with this tutorial from PBS Kids to make jellyfish out of recycled plastic bags!

Step Two: Continue to decorate your space like Ellie did! Add streamers, balloons and other items for underwater ambiance. Invite your family to help you, or spread the jellyfish joy and invite your friends to decorate their spaces. Then join together virtually for a Zany Jellyfish Zoom Jam—there’s nothing fishy about a spontaneous celebration!

Step Three: Compile a list of your favorite songs to jam out to for your party! Ask some of your guests what their favorite songs are and add them in. Can you think of any songs with underwater themes?

Step Four: Party! Get jiggy with it (or jelly with it!). Have fun!

Jellyfish Party

Explore Europe!

Let’s explore Europe a bit! ’Tis vast and full of different cultures. Let’s begin with some helpful resources we found online.

There is so much to explore in terms of European cultures, histories and traditions—but the yummiest thing to explore are all the tastes! In this activity, plan a virtual potluck inspired by a traditional European cuisine or snack.

Virtual Potluck

Grab your New Victory Notebook to start planning your event.

Step One: Choose your food inspiration. Here are more examples of popular, traditional European foods. Are you going to throw a paella party? A borscht bash? A fondue fiesta?

For us, watching Ellie eating her tea and biscuits inspired us to throw a tea and biscuits themed virtual gathering!

Step Two: Write your guest list. Invite your guests and arrange a space for them to meet—Zoom, video call, or maybe even a safe socially distanced gathering if that is possible.

Step Three: Let each of your guests know the European country or cuisine that inspired you, and advise them to each bring an item of that genre to the party!

Here is a sample of our tea and biscuit gathering planning:

Notebook page, food and friends

Step Four: Work with a grown-up to see if you can purchase or make your European cuisine! Purchase the items you need, or maybe make a new recipe with a grown-up. For our party, we also made sure to prepare tea to go along with our biscuits (aka cookies!).

Step Five: Have the party! And of course, as the host of the party, bring along other activities for entertainment. Here’s a list of some fun conversation starters to kick you off:

  • If you were in a circus, which character would you be?
  • If you had a chance to eat dessert for breakfast every day, what dessert would you choose?
  • If you could make up a school subject, what would it be?
  • What makes you laugh the most?
  • If you had a robot for the entire day, what would you ask it to do?
  • If you had the opportunity to invent a new ice cream flavor, what would it be?
  • What’s your favorite word?

If you’re having a tea party, like we did, remember Ellie’s tip! Dipping the biscuits in the tea for five seconds gets you the perfect biscuit texture. What tips did you discover for enjoying the food at your party?

Party Screenshot

Tune the Room

Now that we’ve explored taste a bit, let’s turn our attention to sound. You don’t have to travel far to find amazing soundscapes, and today we will explore the musicality of the spaces around us.

Let’s follow along with New Victory Teaching Artist Spencer Lott as he teaches us the art of playing the room.

Here is a list of the steps to remind you how to prepare for your score creation.

Step One: Choose your sound sticks. And remember Spencer’s warning:

Shovels Are Not Good Sound Sticks

Step Two: Pick a room to start in. Then, think of a genre of music that room inspires. For Spencer, his kitchen score was inspired by Balkan music, which we’ll be exploring further with our Oily Cart friends in our next post. Here is a Balkan music compilation that we have been jammin’ to.

Step Three: Explore the sounds of that room. Can you find items that resemble certain instruments? One for the bass and melody, like Spencer found? One for a jazzy solo? See what score you can create for that room!

To expand the sounds, focus on touch. How can you adjust the way you play each of these “instruments” to produce different sounds? Can you tap? Bang? Tickle? Roll? How do these different touches change the sound? How does it change the way the sound sticks feel in your hand?

Step Four: Try to play as many rooms in your home as you can. Keep finding sounds that match the energy of that room. For example, maybe the living room where everyone usually gathers will be a louder (perhaps pop-inspired?) score, and maybe your bedroom where you sleep will sound more like a lullaby.

In addition to sound sticks, you can create sound-makers to turn your home into an instrument-filled concert hall! Here is a sound-maker you can create with household materials.

Create a Sound-Maker

Sound-maker image
Materials: Toilet paper roll, scissors, marker, a thin plastic lid, string, paper clips

Step One: Using your toilet paper roll as a stencil, draw a circle in marker on your plastic lid and cut it out.
Step Two: Use one paper clip to poke a small hole in the center of your new plastic circle.
Step Three: Tie the paper clips to one end of your string. Then tie a knot a few inches above them and thread the loose end through the hole in your plastic circle.
Step Four: Tape the circle over one end of the toilet paper roll so that the paper clips are dangling inside the roll.
Step Five: Create different beats and sounds. Here is a quick one we created!

BONUS: Find a way to incorporate your new sound-maker into your room scores. Remember to always respect your instruments and sound sticks by handling them gently.

Now that your rooms are tuned and your instruments are made, take a break with Oily Cart’s Jamboree: The Album to listen to some music they’ve been creating.

DOUBLE BONUS: Add some movement to your piece. Check out ISH Dance Theater Collective as they take us through a movement adventure and what they are doing during this time for some inspiration.

Thanks for discovering alongside us during this week’s adventures. Keep it going with our “Create” post, and learn more about Europe and how Oily Cart creates theater.

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.