Thank you and Goodbye


We made our last play session a party with help from Sam Watson, a great performer interested in creating work for Early Years audiences. We decorated cakes, blew up balloons and there were hats and hooters. In this photo Sam is having so much fun at the party he is in fact wearing two hats. Most of the photos in this blog were taken by the talented Sonja Witts, who is one of the regular parents at our play sessions. There have been so many wonderful people who have made a spontaneous contribution to this project, and I am so grateful and inspired by their generosity. It has been wonderful to be in a position where I can regularly meet and get to know interested people- be it audiences or artists or someone who is both- and informally chat about ideas.

The exception is this photo of Drew Wright which I took just before our very last session in the forest on Wednesday.

Drew’s session was a brilliant high to end the project on, I felt really lucky to have him perform songs from his repertoire and there were some fantastic moments of everyone singing together and being lifted up and chuckling. I also enjoyed the gentle introduction to Rock n’Roll with his two string guitar and little orange amp.

After the last workshop I was given a beautiful bunch of flowers and the best forest picture book so far, The Conductor by Laetitia Devernay. They are the cherry on top of the things that I have to thank the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh for! We have been very lucky that they took a risk on this idea and they have fully supported this project and all of it’s surprises. None of us have ever made anything quite like this before, and we have learned many lessons along the way. It was not the easy option for them and I am so grateful we have been granted not only the permission but also the means and support to make this project happen. I know that the forest has changed me as an artist and I can feel the waves that it has created around it. None of that would have happened without the Botanics team, especially Ian Edwards, Elinor Gallant and Amy McDonald who helped set it up in the first place. At the risk of this blog becoming an oscar speech now I will also take this opportunity to thank Rhona Matheson, Starcatchers Director, who basically made it all happen. Right, I couldn’t possibly get into it all but all the artists (Claire, Matt, Katy, Geraldine, Ross, Lottie, Niroshini, Nik, Drew, Greg, Sam, Heather, Andy, Skye, Rosie, Eilidh) and volunteers (Hannah, Catriona, Catriona, Hayley, Julien, Emma, Lisa, Duncan, Hazel, Laura) and of course I couldn’t have done it without Alex and Kim who have been there every week, and all the staff at the RBGE who have supported the project.

I really do feel quite emotional about the end of the project. I asked people to write up their experiences of the forest on postcards this week and leave/ leaf them hanging from the branches of the trees in the forest. Here is what was written on some of the other postcards:

Memories of the Forgotten Forest: the rapt look on my toddler’s face as he was entranced by bubbles, balloons, badgers, the moon and a snowstorm, party hats and cupcakes, wooden pebbles and disco balls and a poetic story about a stick. A lovely armchair in the winter sun for reading stories together. We’ve had a magical time in a magical space and will moss you. Thank you!

This has been a wonderful space we’ve returned to again and again. Small changes to the toys and things left around have kept it fresh and stimulating- but it’s a lovely serene space as well. A great place to come when the weather’s been too bad to play in the garden. We’ll miss you- do come back!

Terrific space with sunlight spakiling on the waterfall through the glass and raindrops splashing in the water and rainbows being created with risms. Children laughing and exploring, creating and discovering. What a wonderful space and idea to have this forgotten forest event in the botanics. Many thanks. Clea and Iris

Thank you it has been a lovely space for young children, especially during the winter months. We love “the Botanics” though it lacks somewhat in providing child-focused areas. Starcatchers and the Forgotten Forest has been a fun and very peaceful way to spend several afternoons. Hazel and her team have been a fantastic inspiration to me and the children! Good luck and hopefully we will see you again in the future! Tanji, Joyce and Helena

Great time had by all. Kids as well as the adults! Will be back for sure.

Not only is it a terrific venue with wonderful ambience, but all the leaders are special people adding to the activities with their inventiveness, responsiveness to the children etc. thank you

Too whit Too whoo! Playing on a Monday afternoon. The beanbags. Bouncing. Practising hulahooping. I’ll miss the forgotten forest. I hope it comes back.

Iris (1.5 years) loved rainforest activity. Liked making sounds and joining in with the other children. Lots of different sounds and different activity yet together as a group. Kept her interest.

We enjoyed the forest a great deal! Very relaxed with a great variety of creative things to do. Thanks so much!

We are very sorry it’s going. It has been great for the toddlers, especially on those miserable winter mornings when it has been too grim for long walks in the gardens. From Sandy, Robert, Luke and Grace P.S. Hope it will be back next year!

What a wonderful facility! We came yesterday for the first time and are back today.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! The forgotten forest has been a haven from the cold, a source of inspiration and creativity and one of our best friends! We will miss you, Colleen and Fiona xxx

Dear Hazel, I love you and would love you to come to my house one day we could play together. After Christmas I was able to use my scooter to come to the gardens. Best Wishes, Finlay, 3.5 years old

Georgina has enjoyed her time here very much. Fun, free, creative play time. Lots of interaction with a few simple play items (less is most definitely more) Robert

Happy Times at Happy Forest

The forgotten forest has made me even happier and I liked meeting the hedgehog. Thank you x

Great space. Great design. Warm, dry, free, sociable, creative, inspiring and in the Botanics! It’s been the favourite for the past few months. THANK YOU

I heart the forgotten forest

My name is Jasmine Bee. I am 3.5 years and have loved visiting the forgotten forest. I pretend I am in the Wizard of Oz and I love the grassy hill too. Thankyou, Jazzy B x 🙂

A wonderful place for the wee ones (and their mums!) We’ve been many times and we’re sorry to see it go.

Forgotten Forest has been a delightful, fun and educational experience for our two year old granddaughter and will be sorely missed. many thanks! (come back!)

Wonderful place! Would be nice to continue with the forgotten forest.

Isla (2y) has been a regular visitor. She loves it here, playing busily and happily and reading Stanley’s Stick. The peace, the space and scope for imagination are marvelous. We will miss it so. haste ye back!

Fergus and I will really miss this lovely space- always a pleasure to come and spend time here. A really friendly, bright and inspiring place. Sorry to see it go. 

This has been such a great space for my grandson Leo and myself to come in the afternoons. Leo did not have much contact with other children when we started coming here, when he was 9 months old. Now he has developed into a very sociable little boy who enjoys interactivity with all the other children. We will miss the forgotten forest so much. Margo Milne

Ollie and Flora have loved having the Forest here and will miss it loads. Please come back! Have loved the location and atmosphere. 

Thank you for making such a beautiful space for our babies! Please come back! Jack


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The Final Week

This week Katy Wilson and I have been telling a story about a badger who wakes up in a half dream during the winter sleep to explore a frosty night time forest. There are white trees and a huge white moon against a black background (monochrome images are very pleasing to badgers) and surreal, magical dream like images made with bubbles and balloons. With help from everyone who came to our sessions we created a large cone-iferous forest within a forest from paper collaged cones and glowing lights. They were fun sessions to do and it was very satisfying to develop something that we made for 0-2 year olds last week into something for 2-4 year olds. We used some of the same materials, ideas and images but the participation was more structured and there was a strong component of  storytelling stringing everything together. There were questions, explanations and answers in the session for older children (but not for everything mind you, we like a bit of the abstract in there as well!)

Sadly it’s now the last week of the Starcatchers forgotten forest project. This time next week it will be coming down. I do feel quite emotional about it and I know a lot of the people who have been coming regularly do too. This week I have had so many conversations with people who have a real relationship with the space, lamenting the loss of somewhere that they often come to play. I believe there is a connection between the value visitors place for this space and the value we have for our forests; people do recognise the importance of protecting and maintaining an environment for our children to play and grow in and the long term investment we need to make for their future.

Thank you everyone who has supported our project so far; I hope you will indulge me if I share some statistics with you. By the end of this week we will have had:

14 free play sessions (every single one was full) attended by 420 participants

54 workshop events, selling 1214 tickets

2 CPD sessions, attended by a total of 19 participants

18 artists employed in the forgotten forest

12 wonderful volunteers

2, 063 hits on the blog so far

A huge, uncountable amount of drop-in visitors to the installation (it has been steadily busy every day since it opened in October.) Here are some pictures of a typical Friday afternoon at half past three (there is no particular event on on a Friday- these are just drop in visitors.) And the space has been open 7 days a week since the 29th of September… so you can do the imaginary guess-the-jellybeans-in-the-jar maths!

Our last session with musician Drew Wright this week is fully booked, so apologies to all those who have missed the boat. I think it will be a good one, I’m really looking forward to it! I have had plenty enquiries about what is coming up next for Starcatchers. Katy Wilson and Matt Addicott are working on a project starring a hoover, called This Sucks which is in Eastwood Park Theatre in East Renfrewshire, here is a link to their programme (page 3) and I will be preparing for a tour of a show called the Attic for 3-5 year olds. We are touring across Scotland and the nearest venue to Edinburgh is the Brunton Theatre, details here, but we also go to the MacRobert in Stirling, some Fife venues and even Inverness. The best thing to do is keep in touch with Starcatchers, join our mailing list and friend us on facebook.

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Happy New Year

The forgotten forest has been effected by the winds this week, with the gardens closing due to extreme weather on Tuesday, and the enormous clean up still going on. I think that this article by the BBC sums it up well, and Ian from the gardens gives an interesting perspective; seeing the positives at the same time as feeling the sad loss. Whilst on the subject of trees being bent and blown in the gale, I found a link to Gryfino Pine Forest in Poland which looks like it’s been through a few gales itself!

So, talking about human intervention manipulating trees, look at these money trees. Also check out this pine forest installation Clear Cut, proving that you do get mirrors in the middle of forests.

When I did manage to get in to the forest with visual artist Katy Wilson we built ourselves a black backdrop in the forest to experiment with glowing things and visual art treats for young babies. It was all about fragile white winter cone-iferous forests, glowing magical spheres and enormous bubbles, adding a bit of magic to January. We are looking forward to developing our theme this week for 2-4 year olds, with sessions on the 11th and 14th January still available. Sessions are at 10.30 and 1pm, to book email forestenquiries@gmail.com.

Coming up for 0-2 year olds: I can now confirm that our last session on the 18th January will be with Drew Wright who sometimes performs by the name Wounded Knee. Check out his web page iamwoundedknee. Drew is an incredible musician and storyteller and I am really excited to have him along- I think we will surely be going out on a high!

Then that’s going to be it folks, I’m afraid.

I also wanted to share a taste of the feedback that has been left for us recently:

‘He loves it! And uses his imagination. … We love the peaceful playspace’ – Sara

‘Throughly enjoyed it, especially cello playing … lovely atmosphere’ – Tamara Natasha

‘Please please come back! We will miss you, you are filling a great need here.  (there are) so many different and changing things to do, we’ve been many times, loved the cello’ – Heidi Alice

‘How lovely you have given over such a great space for children!! Much needed. Thanks!’

‘Absolutely loved it. It feels safe and is entertaining. … I love it, it’s a dry and clean and stimulating place to take a baby’

‘fascinated … love the light, texture and mirrors.’ – Rachel Rouley

‘It was relating, fun, creative and different. No one visit is the same as another… please stay’ – Rachel Rouley

‘Loved to explore, enjoyed music and the freedom and simplicity’

Favorite part: ‘allowing the session to be child led’

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How many sleeps?

We had really lovely ‘Owl Club Christmas’ Sessions all week culminating in a fantastic, impromptu cello, viola and guitar trio jam on Saturday afternoon in the HOOTenanny. Being able to engage with volunteers and retain their interest as the programme constantly evolves has been an unexpected bonus, and I am thrilled that their contribution can now involve bringing instruments and having an improvised jam session. I have even been having a go on the melodica myself (this is me practicing the Proclaimers.)

It has been fantastic working with Greg Sinclair for these sessions, we are genuinely both having so much fun and feeling super-festive. Greg has been involved in making music for baby theatre for some years now, over several projects, and it is very clear how comfortable and engaged he is with this audience. In one moment I found him lying on the floor, the cello balanced on his stomach, playing a sort of musical peekaboo with a baby under the bridge. And several times I saw tiny babies of 7 or 8 months press their hands on his cello while he played notes that made low vibrations to their delight and fascination. And all this whilst engaging with the parents, making them laugh and feel relaxed. It really is such a skill, which requires a brave and tuned in artist, and Greg not only falls in that category he has also had time and support to develop his interest in it, which we are very grateful for, long may it continue!

This week I met Tracey at our Play Session, and she told me about this wonderful 12 minute documentary she has made. I really connected it to the forgotten forest project because it is about the connection that young children have with nature and the landscape through imaginative play. It somehow evokes a feeling of reconnecting to our environment through the eyes of a child. I love the way it is shot as if there were never any adults there at all.

How Many Sleeps to the Moon?

For the first two weeks in January we welcome visual artist Katy Wilson back to the forest. Katy (alongside another wonderful artist who was with us in the forgotten forest a few weeks ago, Rosie Gibson,) have started this really interesting blog about Gallery and Environmental Art for children which you should check out: made for kids. The first sessions back after a wee break for Christmas will be on the 4th and 7th January for 0-2 year olds and the 11th and 14th January for 2-4 year olds.

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Here it is- a snowy Christmas treat

This is Acorn. Come to the forest this Christmas and I will tell you the story of how he and I came to start Owl Club. Owl club is a hoot; we make music to the moon, music to catch mice by and we are trying to make a snow storm for our snowy owl badge. And we are hoping that some of you will join us for the Owl Club Christmas Party- it’s a HOOTenanny. It’s Christmas, we are not taking ourselves too seriously so expect bad jokes, crackers and a gentle welcoming, cosy bit of fun. We are really enjoying ourselves and getting in the spirit of the season. (Oh, by the way Acorn is also sometimes known as the amazing Greg Sinclair.) Almost all the Christmas events are sold out now, there are just a few tickets left on the 21st at 1pm (forestenquiries@gmail.com) but don’t forget we are still running in January.

It is such a privilege to be in the botanics at this time of year. I took these photos on Saturday on my walk through the gardens on my way in to work (before it opens.) In case you needed another reason to come and visit the forgotten forest

This week there was a Starcatchers Network Event at Creative Scotland and we watched the documentary about last year’s residencies and heard a summary of the Research Document that was commissioned by Strathclyde University. It really gives a background to where this project has come from. It was fantastic to reflect on the journey we have been on since then and the forgotten forest has been another big leap for me in discovering what kind of valuable and quality arts experiences we can create for Early Years Audiences.

And here is a link to the research summary.

I also came across this blog about toys and play, via Jo Timmins, and wanted to share it on the blog. At some point in this project we have used every one of these 5 great toys!

 

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Nik has the Knack

 

Last week in the forest I was working with Nik Paget-Tomlison. Last year Nik and I created a show together called Round in Circles and in an ever spiralling loop these sessions felt a lot like coming back to where I started in terms of style. It was a welcome feeling to find my comfort zone again, I really enjoyed the sessions simple, cool gig-like feel. Sometimes the children wanted to watch us create images and play, and others were right in there joining in and the session which was designed so that it worked either way. We let the children lead us and Nik and I have enough of a shared instinct to go with the feel of the event without even having to talk about it. This makes a lovely, relaxed, non-verbal ‘play’ which I really enjoy.

OK, it’s official, we can no longer ignore it. It’s December, the countdown is on, the forest has transformed. Sparkle, glitter, magic… owls? All ye faithful to the forest came for a mince pie and mulled wine fuelled decorating fest, which means the forest has been spruced up for Christmas in the best way possible: by the power of good will and good cheer. Thanks to all the volunteers and members of Patter (an Early Years artists network that myself and Matt Addicott have started) who came down to help us out with the job, which was made possible by Geraldine’s Christmas mix CD! It was a lot of glittery fun and I am chuffed with the transformation… I hope you like it too. I was quite overwhelmed by all the support that this project has had, with so many lovely people turning up on a Sunday night to help out, real Christmas generosity in the forest. Awww.

There are only a few Christmas in the forest workshops left with spaces available; currently 1pm on 10th/14th and 21st December. Email forestenquiries@gmail.com to book! But don’t forget about our Explore the forest sessions in January… details here.

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Not soft play: rocks and spikes

We made forests in forests in forests in the forest with Rosie Gibson. Beautiful, imaginary magical forests with crocodiles, foxes, caves, bridges and a red snake that overlooks the whole landscape. This workshop suited the space so well and I really enjoyed being part of creating something with the whole group, everyone’s individual contributions  looked amazing together, the landscape growing and branching out in the centre of the pool. We tried to build the experience in stages, exploring and transforming the clay before creating our forest, putting as much value on the process as the product.

Then on Friday we had a visit from Cuddles. Cuddles is an African Pygmy Hedgehog owned by Laura Moss. Laura got in touch when we put a call out for volunteers and offered to facilitate hedgehog visits in the forest for us. How could we refuse? Friday was a gentle trial and Cuddles seemed to enjoy meeting the children (and they loved meeting her) so we have arranged a few more dates: 11am-12pm Tuesday 6th December, 1pm-2pm Sunday 18th December and 2-3pm on Monday 2nd January. Laura was able to answer lots of questions about Cuddles who we discovered eats dry cat food and likes to curl up behind the books on the shelf for a nap. It was very inspiring to meet a real hedgehog, I don’t think I have ever actually seen one before and she was so characterful, it was just like something out of a Beatrix Potter illustration. Laura also writes a blog all about her hedgehogs with some great pictures: http://edinburghhedgehogs.wordpress.com/about

On Saturday we had a second visit from storyteller Andy Cannnon, telling tales of Robin Hood’s dream. I really enjoyed this session, I always find it satisfying to be able to re-visit an idea after a short break letting the ideas settle, and I think this is especially true for storytelling. A good story or a song takes a while to fully absorb itself in your being and become part of the performer. The first time you tell it there is a fresh sense of discovery that the audience shares but it’s cool to find something again a few weeks later when the dust has settled and you can see it clearer.

As the weather turns and a stroll through the botanics becomes a greater adventure the garden inevitably has fewer visitors. However I am happy to report that as ever there are a constant stream of families hanging out in the forgotten forest space. It has become a chill out area and a meeting place where the children and adults instinctively engage in imaginative play with old friends and new, and parents chat about feeds, changes, sleep patterns, the new BBC series of frozen planet and the price of baby food. Sometimes on the weekends older brothers and sisters charge around but by and large we are getting  visitors of under 4. We have quite a few ‘regulars’, friends are being made here, and babies who could only crawl when we first opened are now toddling about. People who have just discovered it are coming back to show their friends and tourists who speak little English are included in all the activity. But how is this space different to a play park or soft play area? Do the visitors realise that they are engaging in a piece of public art? Does that matter? Actually I have had plenty of people over the weeks who have found me in the space and wanted to ask me more about how the project came about and the context of it within the arts scene and how it came to be in this exhibition space. And I think that I am witnessing a small change in the way that people are using the space as some visitors have taken ownership of it (some days I even come in and find someone has tidied it up for me at the end of the previous day!) There has been input from 14 different artists now who have each brought a new and fresh idea for how to use the opportunity. I think it has caught people’s imagination, it has certainly been a journey for me to have such a public creative process.

So next week we can expect a transformation of the space as winter comes to the forest…

Also, this week for 0-2 year olds our events are with musician Nik Paget-Tomlinson who will bring drums and look at looping found sounds.

And then we are into Christmas sessions for which there are only a few spaces left. Check out which events are sold out here and make a booking now! (forestenquiries@gmail.com)

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Eilidh’s Baby Ukulele Ceilidh and Skye’s Jungle Boogie


So this week the forest hosted the first ever Eilidh’s Baby Ukulele Ceilidh. The fact that the forest has become host to a new take on the traditional ceilidh (with dances specially designed to be done with a toddler or baby on your hip) is a surprise to everyone involved. I think it’s a real testament to the long creative journey that we have been on in the forest. As the weeks go by we have really had to consider the participation that adults are comfortable having in these events, especially those created for the 0-2 year old age range. We know that ideally some people would love to just sit back and let us entertain their children for a while so they can have some rest, and there are elements of that; as with all traditional ceilidhs Eilidh ‘did a turn’ and sang us some songs that we could sit and watch. But we also encouraged everyone to learn the steps to a ‘Dashing White Toddle’, and ‘No-real Reel’ and a ‘Canadian Baby Dance.’

And then on Saturday we had a lovely couple of sessions with Skye Reynaulds who is a movement practitioner/performer exploring the jungle (including a jungle boogie.) We were really lucky to have live music in this session, played by Hannah Linklater. Again, we were really interested in encouraging the participation of the grown ups who could provide bridges for their babies and toddlers, and help them spin and turn upside down or hold a parachute that they can go under or rock on top of. We are always considering how we can make participation natural and comfortable and it’s been interesting how the dance events have taken us a step further with what we are asking from the adults. And I especially want to thank all the grown ups involved for coming with us on that journey.

Below are some pictures of binoculars that we created on Friday afternoon. The two girls who climbed into the basket were playing that it was their boat.

Coming up for 2-4 year olds: Rosie Gibson will be exploring clay with us on Wednesday 23rd November and storyteller Andy Cannon will be telling us tales of Robin in the forest again on Saturday 26th November.

Coming up for 0-2 year olds: For Explore in the Forest on the 30th November and 3rd of December we welcome musician Nik Paget-Tomlinson. www.nikpt.co.uk

And then our events will become Christmas in the Forest. I can now reveal that all of the Christmas events will be with musician Greg Sinclair, who has already visited the forest a few times with different ideas. Some of these dates are already sold out, you can see the updated list of which workshops are sold out and for which there are still places available at here. 

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Robin Hood and Senior Squirrel

First up this week we were treated to stories by Andy Cannon with his tale of Robin’s dream in the forest (of dancing forest trees and hiding children.) Andy is a talented and well-practiced storyteller and it is always fantastic to watch how he adapts to listen to different audiences and captivates both the very young as well as the old with his humour. We will be having more sessions with Andy on Saturday 26th November.

And on Saturday we welcomed Eilidh McAskill to the forest, or should I say ‘Squirrel.’ She is a very talented (if slightly up-tight) creature, with a fantastic Ukulele number about being cold which put me right in the mood for starting winter. But she wasn’t ready yet and much work was still to be done collecting enough food, building a nest and having a bedtime story; what better than Aesop’s fable the Ant and the Grasshopper to settle you down for the long winter’s hibernation?

I’m paraphrasing, but last week someone asked me this question: Children are naturally creative in their play- they don’t really need encouragement- why do we need to provide arts experiences for them?

I’d like to offer some suggestions:

Firstly, when I go the the Lyceum, Traverse or Fruitmarket to see a show it’s not filled with adults who feel they lack creativity and want to better themselves. Perhaps there are a few lost souls but I reckon it’s mostly populated by other artists and creative individuals who seek inspiration and nourishment that they get from arts experiences. Therefore if children are natural artists then it follows that they too will feel drawn to experiencing art, theatre and music.

Secondly, if we are all born as creative individuals then why do so many adults lack confidence in their own artistic skills? I actually think everyone is creative but not everyone believes they are, so recognising, celebrating and exploring a child’s creativity seems a very valuable thing to do.

Thirdly (I hope) everyone realises that playing with young children is essential to their development and our relationship with them. Providing a space/ stimulus/ experience that encourages for adults to fully engage in play with their children is an idea that the artists that I have been working with are fully in tune with, and I think that’s very exciting.

Finally in my experience the artists can really benefit from collaboration with young children. Their natural creativity offers genuine surprises and an instinctive, fresh perspective. It’s not only about what they get from it, but actually artists can produce fantastic work with for and inspired by children. In a lovely book called the Boy who bit Picasso by Antony Penrose, he remembers that Picasso would only let children into his studio.

I’m not alone, I enjoyed reading this great blog this week about the project, check it out:

http://artyosaur.wordpress.com/

And while looking around online for well designed wooden things I came across this, and fell a little bit in love with it, worth a look:

http://weeseeworld.com/site/wee-saw/

So, coming up for 0-2 year olds this week: On Wednesday I am very excited to announce EILIDH’S BABY UKULELE CEILIDH. Eilidh McAskill once spent an entire year doing a Ukulele performance of some description every single day and called it “Eilidh’s Daily Ukulele Ceilidh.” So, we couldn’t resist giving this variation a go… I’m excited! And then on Saturday we will be dancing in a workshop with Skye Reynaulds. Skye is a really exciting movement artist who choreographed Oops a Daisy for Starcatchers and I’m looking forward to see what she will do in the forest.

And coming up for 2-4 year olds: On Wednesday 23rd November we are looking forward to a workshop with Rosie Gibson, a wonderful visual artist. We will be working with clay, getting our fingers into the earth. Then on Saturday 26th November it will be Andy Cannon again with stories of Robin in the forest.

 


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Harmonious harmonium

The Harmonium is a bellowing instrument which makes a hypnotising drone sound as Niroshini sits on the floor playing it. It seems to have a really calming effect on both parents and children so we have been enjoying a really chilled out week in the forest. Niroshini took us on a sound journey with a bonfire, rainfall and frogs, using wooden and homemade instruments.

We are also really excited this week about this fantastic short film of the event last week with Ross Mackay. It was made by the incredible Geraldine Heaney, and would not be as cool without music by the fabulous Greg Sinclair (who will return to perform for the ‘Christmas in the Forest’ workshops which have started to sell out so book up quickly, details are here.) Check it out:

This is Kim, she is on placement with us as part of her course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She spends every Monday and Tuesday with us and has made herself a really valuable member of the team. You can read about her experiences of the project on her own (very well written, thought provoking) blog here.

We’d also like to announce another CPD session called ‘Twilight in the Forest’ for Early Years Educators interested in the project, it will be on the 11th December between 4 and 6pm in the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh. To book a place please email forestenquiries@gmail.com.

Coming up for 2-4 year olds: This week in the forest we’re delighted to welcome storyteller Andy Cannon on Wednesday. Andy is a very talented and well known performer, especially celebrated for his work with Wee Stories theatre company and I can tell you now, he will be wearing a kilt! On Saturday we welcome performer and theatre maker Eilidh MacAskill. In her other life Eilidh is part of Fish and Game theatre company and plays the Ukelele, so we are looking forward to something new, inventive and fun with her.

Coming up for 0-2 year olds: On Wednesday 16th November we will be working with Eilidh again (see above) and on Saturday 19th the workshop will be with Skye Reynaulds who will be working with dance in the forest.

All the event and booking information information is here.

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