At the start of February 2021, we were thrilled to be invited to present our work at the International Play Association’s Play in a Time of Crisis Award webinar series, which showcased projects all over the world that have supported children’s right to play during the pandemic. What we shared During the webinar, we spoke about the generosity, joy and limitless creativity we witnessed during Big Porridge & Play Online 2020. As our actor-pedagogues guided families through our Lickety Playcard games, amazing group story improvisation, dressing up and reflective drawing, we saw children break out of lockdown monotony and grow in confidence, becoming a tight-knit group, ready for anything. This was also reflected in the wonderful feedback from children and parents. We regularly remind our Children & Families Network that “in our imaginations we can be anyone, go anywhere and do anything” - and this was the basis for the huge, and increasingly amazing, group improvisation activities, using Flying Balloons and the clear favourite, Magic Ball. As well as the sheer, thrilling enjoyment of playing together, we saw our participants gain vital life skills such as the pleasure of reciprocity in play, how to respect and listen to others, how to interact confidently with their peers and grown-ups, and the realisation that all we need to [...]
Licketyspit wants to spark a children’s rights-based play revolution! The Glasgow Community and National Lottery Community Funds have let us make a start. This is just the beginning! Everyone can join. There is a big imaginary play train going round Glasgow and everyone can jump on board! What is Storyplay City? Everyone, of all ages, loves to play! We need to play! Play is at the essence of being human. When we play imaginatively with other people there are no limits and no mistakes, just endless possibilities. Licketyspit and our children, families and colleagues have got a recipe and a list of ingredients that make imaginary play an easy, wonderful and inclusive part of every day. We call this Storyplay. Licketyspit has been developing Storyplay with Glasgow families for over 15 years. From LicketyLeap sessions in nurseries to Storyplay Schools programmes in primaries, to Porridge & Play in the community and Picnic & Play in museums and parks. Now, the Glasgow Community Fund is supporting us to build on our work to make Glasgow the first Storyplay City! We all need what children need Children know that the most important things in life are love, kindness, fairness, respect. Playing with children liberates adults to remember this! You can let your hair down and feel at home even with strangers! Storyplay is a celebration [...]
It’s been a year since we moved the Licketyspit office to Glasgow - and what a year it’s been. None of us could have predicted the tumultuous events that would affect everything and everyone; for the past six months, like all other arts organisations, the activities and goals we set out have been forced to shift and morph to fit our new reality. So, we were delighted when one of the parents in our Children & Families Network happily remarked that she’d noticed “an explosion” in Licketyspit activity since we moved here. It looks like this is recognised elsewhere too, as we have just been granted funding from the Glasgow Communities Fund for our Storyplay City project! So, we thought it would be good to step back and reflect on that “explosion” ourselves. Our Storyplay Residencies and Big Porridge & Play intergenerational play sessions, focus on energetic, face-to-face imaginary play, often within large groups of families from different parts of the city, which with the arrival of the pandemic had to stop! But with difficulties come opportunities: we’ve learnt new ways of playing, new ways of conducting events remotely, new ways of connecting with children and families when we can’t be physically near each other, and new ways of finding new families to join our vibrant Families Network community. A new home We had been [...]
Wednesday 9th September, 2020 Incorporating the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scottish law is a big step towards ensuring every child in Scotland grows up happy, healthy and safe. This “rights revolution” means our government is committed to building a society where children are seen, heard, included and valued as equal human beings with their own views, thoughts, feelings and ideas. It means children’s experiences and perspectives must be considered equally alongside those of adults, not as secondary or irrelevant. These are big ambitions. They will not happen overnight. And they will not happen at all unless every adult in Scotland – especially those who work with and for children – has the courage to reflect on their own behaviour and practice. We need a sea change in adult’s understanding of children - not only of what they need, but what they have to offer. Licketyspit would like to share some of our own understanding of what constitutes a children’s rights based practice. We have learned this from children. Our children’s rights-based drama-led play approach has been developed through constant consultation, conversation and play with 3-12 year olds and their parents and carers over the last 20 years. We engage in regular, rigorous evaluation with our team and the other children’s professionals we work with. Fundamentally, Licketyspit’s practical tool-kit – our Lickety-Playcard resource - [...]
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown, Licketyspit worked quickly to respond to the needs of families in our Children & Families Network and provide creative, joyful activities that would help families feel less isolated, inspire children to play and imagine at home, and connect people up with financial and food support during this difficult time. This included making videos for children explaining coronavirus and the lockdown, and demonstrating our Playcard games and songs, for families to play along to. We also adapted our intergenerational community project Big Porridge & Play Glasgow on Zoom, delivering closed sessions for Milton, Easterhouse and Govan families, as well as open sessions with families participating from across Scotland - and even as far as India! We already had an idea of digital inequality among families in our network because of the number of families for whom we had only a phone number, rather than an email address. We contacted these families to gain greater insight into this issue - whether families had WiFi, a smartphone or other digital device, a monthly data package or top-up SIM. We knew that some of the families who would most benefit from joining our online sessions and accessing our videos, imaginary play activities and audio-shows, were those without any internet access, or with very limited access. We talked to our Storyplay Schools, which are [...]
Licketyspit goes to Philadelphia! On 15th January 2019, Virginia was part of a Scottish Children’s Theatre delegation to the IPAY International Showcase. International Performing Arts for Youth (IPAY) brings together specialist children’s theatre companies and venues from around the world. Licketyspit was supported by Imaginate and Creative Scotland to participate in the conference and explore possibilities for touring our shows in America. Our featured show was Hare & Tortoise, Virginia Radcliffe and Deborah Arnott’s fantastic adaptation of Aesop’s fable. Featuring the Bun Brothers, Mrs Doodah and the Spooky Wood! With original music by Tim Brinkhurst and unforgettable songs by Virginia and Deborah, Hare & Tortoise is a universally loved show for the whole family. Below is what Virginia said, and the accompanying slide show... Licketyspit was founded in 2004 out of my work over the previous three-years leading Scotland’s first dedicated early years theatre project. We develop our work through playing and talkingwith 3-7 year olds. We perform to 0-12s and adults making early years children the focus of a gregarious inclusive audience. Licketyspit currently has a repertoire of 7 original children’s plays: Molly Whuppie–is a 300 year old story about a Scottish super-hero girl, a King and a giant. Quangle Wangle–is aplay about friendship based on Edward Lear’s poems The Jumblies & the Quangle Wangle’s Hat! Wee Witches–is a funny and powerful story about generosity & persecution Magic [...]
I spent the early years of Licketyspit writing, directing and producing big, complex shows for children and families (and acting in them too!). Licketyspit is rooted in theatre, and we continue to produce full scale productions, like Molly Whuppie at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016. We want to fire children’s imaginations and we can see that theatre is a fantastic tool to do this. But more than this, an experience of theatre can give an early years child a great store of material, a multi-layered experience they can go on playing with, explore, share, re-invent and learn through. All children’s theatre reflects the artists behind it and their response to children. Licketyspit wants to inspire children in all aspects of our work – which is highly physical, visual and musical. We particularly we want to inspire children with language. Learning to communicate with words empowers children and connects them with society. You cannot really accumulate knowledge and learn until you have a vocabulary. Early years children learn many new words every day and understand far more than they can express. They relish navigating their way through language piecing together new understandings and relating them to the way they see and meet the world. An experience of theatre is like zipping a big book of experience inside a child. Licketyspit believes all children are bursting with possibility. We want [...]
Licketyspit is committed to joined-up thinking and exploring new ways that the widest possible range of children’s services can collaborate in achieving our shared goals. That’s why we work with Glasgow City Council, Scottish Adoption, The Scottish Refugee Council, and of course, all of our Storyplay Schools. It’s also why we hold regular CPD sessions, to share our learning and practice with children’s professionals working in a range of services and settings. As well as this, we regularly participate in conferences and symposia, where we meet children’s professionals from all over Scotland (and sometimes all over the world!) to share our findings and expertise. These knowledge sharing opportunities cross disciplines, Education, Health and Wellbeing, Childcare, Social Care, and of course, the Arts. This year, I went to Play Perform Learn Grow, a European meeting of arts and play specialists, which this year was held in Thessalonika, Greece. And just last month I took the train up to Inverness for the Care and Learning Alliance, or CALA, conference...