Thursday, March 09, 2006
The Jumping JellyBeans
Theatre, as a performing art, has always been a part of society. Different forms of theatre and dance are part of the heritage of any culture and children have always been involved as spectators or performers.
In our modern society theatre has been denied to children.
The Jumping JellyBeans (JJB) was born with the scope of bringing back theatre to children through different acting techniques and interaction.
Our vision includes creating a space to do research, rehearsals and a venue for performances. This space will also be used to stage performances for children by various International Theatre companies to give exposure to Malaysian children and adults to the various types of work that is currently staged. It will also be a space to conduct workshops for children. This will help broaden their horizons.
The project “A play for a smile” was born with the aim of bringing cheer into the lives of young patients who were undergoing chemotherapy. “Colours of the Sky” was the first children’s’ theatre production that they created. Puppetry was used in the performance with a story loosely based on the French book entitled “Le Petit Prince” written by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. This play was performed for two years in several homes, schools and for the public at the Actors Studio Box Theatre. It was used as a tool to raise funds for children diagnosed with cancer and who could not afford the initial treatment.
In order to make our performances accessible to all children, shows are bilingual (Bahasa Malaysia and English) when required.
“The Jumping JellyBeans Cleaning Company” was the second production and it was originally created for raising funds for Magic (Malaysian Association of Guardians for Intellectually Challenged) in the year 2002. It was performed at the Actors Studio Box Theatre in July 2002.
In April 2003 The Actors Studio asked Cinzia and Shanthini to perform it, this time for the public. It was an ideal opportunity to gauge the needs for a childrens’ theatre in our society especially since there is no local English theatre company to cater to the younger audience.
Shanthini and Cinzia formalised the Theatre Company under the name of “The Jumping JellyBeans” in July 2nd 2003. Registered as ‘The Jumping JellyBeans Sdn Bhd’ in June 2004.
The Kuala Lumpur Children’s Theatre Festival 2005
Organized by The Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Malaysia in August 2005 drew children into an articulate programme of activities related to Theatre/Performing arts.
The Jumping JellyBeans Sdn Bhd appointed by The Ministry to co-ordinate the festival, drew up a calendar of varied programmes consisting of a series of theatre performances from Italy, Singapore, India, Canada, Australia and Malaysia; percussion, music, clown shows, storytelling and workshops targeted to children. This year the festival presented to the public 46 performances (29 indoor and 17 outdoor) and 24 workshops related to theatre.In order to also reach children who are not usually exposed to the performing arts, live street performances took place in various venues in and around Kuala Lumpur.
Community Outreach venues were
· GH Pediatric ward,
· Juvenile detention centre in Kajang and Malacca – workshops were also conducted.
· DBKL Housing areas in Sentul
· KLCC park.
Children and parents alike enjoyed the performances at the designated venues.
The Aim of the Festival was:
· To present theatre to children and young people in Kuala Lumpur
· For children to participate in workshops related to theatre and the performing art
· To make it possible for children and adults to experience theatre together
· To present Malaysian and International theatre performances to the Malaysian audience.
· To encourage professional theatre artists from Malaysia and abroad to meet and exchange ideas.
· To integrate children from different cultures and background through theatre experiences
Target AudienceThe target audience were children from the local and international schools (primary and lower secondary), kindergartens, families from Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding areas, homes for less privileged children, "theatre presenters/organizers" and staff from libraries, schools, cultural centers and tourists etc.
The festival was held over 9 days from the 20th August to the 28th of August 05.
VenuePerformances: Balai Seni Lukis Negara and Malaysia Tourism CentreWorkshops: Balai Seni Lukis Negara and Istana Budaya
Community outreach: KLCC Park, Taman Rumahan Sri Perak/Kelantan/Trengganu Sentul, Pediatric ward of the KL General Hospital and Juvenile Detention Centre (Henry Gurney School, Malacca).
Platform Sessions: Balai Seni Lukis Negara
The Kuala Lumpur Children’s theatre Festival 2005 was designed to bring the performing arts culture closer to children and families in Kuala Lumpur.
The Festival was sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage which made it possible for the audience to watch all performances free of charge.
During the 9 days festival, children experienced various aspects of theatre through workshops and performances. All performances were in their original languages in order for the public to experience the various cultures.
One of the objectives of the Children’s Theatre Festival was to give exposure to children to help them formulate their own critical thoughts on theatre and performing arts.
Held during the school holidays, it gave children and parents an opportunity to attend all the events organized.
Besides reaching children and families, the Festival also aimed to develop the Children’s theatre industry in Malaysia. Instead of providing workshops for theatre practitioners, the programme included a series of performances created during the festival with collaboration pieces of two or more theatre groups.
Malaysian theatre companies interacting with their counterparts from overseas and coming up with collaboration performances that were presented at the community outreach venues. It was a memorable experience for both companies to work 'hands on' at creating a performance of about 30 minutes.
There was a Festival Weaver, Ms Katherine McLeod who hails from Canada. She started each day introducing the events through song, props and improvisation with the audience members. Throughout the Festival she helped to draw the events together with drums, colourful jingly costumes, and "the jesters bag of goodies", helping those in attendance to feel at ease and welcomed into the space.
The KL Children’s Theatre Festival 2005 was a resounding success as seen by the overwhelming response from the Malaysian public with more than full houses for all events.
Synopsis of The Jumping JellyBeans Performances
1. Colours of the Sky
“Colours of the Sky” is the first children’s’ theatre production by JJB. This performance uses puppets. This story is loosely based on the French book entitled “Le Petit Prince” written by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. This play has been performed in several homes, schools and for the public at the Actors Studio Box Theatre. It was used as a tool to raise funds for children diagnosed with cancer and who could not afford the initial treatment under the Soroptomist Banner in 2000 and 2001.
November University Hospital, PJ – Oncology Paediatric ward
February Taman Megah Handicap Centre
June Actors Studio Box Theatre
November Kindicare pre-school
February elc International School
February Trisha and Sasha
2. The Jumping JellyBeans Cleaning Company
Performers: Cinzia Ciaramicoli, Shanthini Venugopal, Kien Lee
April the Actors Studio Box, 5 performances
Kindicare Nursery, 1 Performance
May French International School, 1 Performance
Trisha & Sasha Children’s Bookstore-Sri Hartamas- 1 performance
Charity performance at Lee Garden to raise funds for Persatuan Kanak-Kanak Istimewa Ampang.
June Sri Cempaka, 3 performances
Actors Studio Bangsar, 2 performances
ThyssenKrupp at Genting View resort- 1 performance
July Actors Studio Penang, 2 performances
Nov Charity show to raise funds for Rumah Solehah (a shelter home for children and women who are HIV positive)
April Sri KDU – 1 performance- ticket sales donated to MAGIC (school for Mentally Challenged children)
August KL Children’s Theatre Festival – Box theatre – Balai Seni Lukis Negara
3. “The Jumping JellyBeans Investigative Company”.
The investigative team made its debut on the Malaysian stage in early November
Performers: Cinzia Ciaramicoli, Fabiana Ambrogi, Shanthini Venugopal.
November Alliance Française, public show - 2 performances
December Japanese International School, 2 performances (performance was bi-
lingual – Japanese and English)
January The Actors Studio Bangsar, 5 performances
March elc International school, 1 performance
April Charity performance to raise funds for “The Stepping Stone’ Home.
Performance held at The Great Eastern Auditorium.
May Sayfol International School
June YTL-Penang Arts Festival. 2 performances
September Sri KDU, 1 performance – ticket sales were donated to school for
special needs children
Sekolah Kebangsaan Batu– one performance –performance was bi-lingual- Bahasa and English
Sri Cempaka International School, 1 performance
October Sekolah Kebangsaan Klang – one performance bi-lingual- Bahasa and
Alice Smith International School- one performance
Silveritage Galleria in Ipoh – 2 performances
(invited special needs and underprivileged children)
December Asean Children’s Festival in Singapore – 4 performances
June Panggung Bandaraya- 3 performances sponsored by
Nestle Malaysia and The Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage.
August KL Children’s Theatre Festival- Box Theatre- Balai Seni Lukis Negara
4. “Whispers of the Winds”
The retelling of an age-old Scandinavian tale titled “East of the Sun and West of the Moon”. The performance is bi-lingual- Bahasa Malaysia and English.
Puppets and dance is utilised with the changing rhythm of the story.
“Whispers of the Winds” made its debut in July 2004 for a DIGI function at Putrajaya performing for four homes for abandoned children.
Performers: Nell Ng, Cinzia Ciaramicoli, Fabiana Ambrogi
5. “The Jumping JellyBeans Storytelling Company”.
JJB performed at Trisha & Sasha (Children’s bookshop in Sri Hartamas). Every month there was a different theme that stories were based on.
Theme Month Year
a) Out of Africa August 2003
b) Cooking September 2003
c) I Spy October 2003
d) Christmas December 2003
e) Chinese New Year January 2004
f) Out of Space February 2004
g) Wishes March 2004
h) Special Children April 2004
(a special teenager was in the performance)
JJB participated at the International Storytelling Conference held in Singapore in October 2003 and November 2004. Performers from all over the world (India, New Zealand, Australia, England etc) shared their techniques and methods of storytelling through workshops and performances.
6. “The Jumping JellyBeans Pastiche”
A 50-minute performance that features a story telling segment - JJB’s version of “Little Red Riding Hood”. It then moves on to a restaurant scenario culminating in the ‘chefs’ making a jellybean soup. This performance is very interactive with the audience.
February Nestle Malaysia as part of their community programme for special needs
children at the Paediatric centre at Kuala Lumpur General Hospital, Jalan Tun Razak.
April Great Eastern Mall- story telling week
April Sentul West for YTL Group
June Digi Family Day at KLCC Convention Centre
March Commonwealth Club- charity show to raise funds to set up library in childrens ward - hospital in Klang
Performers: Cinzia Ciaramicoli, Shanthini Venugopal
7. “Memories of the Sun”
A tailor made performance for ‘DIGI Amazing Malaysian’ programme. Performed in April 2005 at Kuala Gula School, Perak. A half hour show with a narration by the ‘Sun’ of 3 storks from Norway who want to find a new country to migrate to avoid the cold winter months. The story addresses environmental issues of wetlands in Malaysia in a fun way. Original music is featured in the performance, music by JJB and lyrics by Indi Nadarajah and Zahim Albakri.
Performance was done in Bahasa Malaysia
Performers: Zahim Albakri, Indi Nadaraja, Cinzia Ciaramicoli, Shanthini Venugopal.
8. “Terra Arata”
Terra Arata” is the production for the year 2005.
It is inspired by Joan Miro’s painting ‘The Tilled Field’.
The performance is for both children and adults.
The actors’ work is very physical and it is a series of original stories intertwined with traditional music from Asia and Europe. It is a surrealistic presentation of the first surrealistic painting by Miro’.
“Welcome to a world of dreams in Terra Arata
We’ll take you through a journey filled with tales from near and far.
Birds and bulls and fishes too come alive before your eyes
This world of dreams belongs to you
Together we’ll see it through”
Performers: Cinzia Ciaramicoli, Sukania Venugopal, Shanthini Venugopal,
Sets and design by Paul Low. Costumes by Domique.
November- KLPAC Pentas Two – 4 shows
December -The Asian Children’s Performing Arts Festival in Singapore – 5 performances Alliance Francais, Singapore.
March Japanese International School – 2 performances
Gallery One, Annexe Central Market - 6 performances
Plans to stage this performance in schools, art galleries in Malaysia and overseas.
Synopsis of The Jumping JellyBeans Programmes
1. “The Jumping JellyBeans Special Children’s Programme”
A. Theatre Training (onging)
· MAGIC (Malaysian Association of Guardians for the Intellectually Challenged) Sec 16, Petaling Jaya.
Since 2001, JJB volunteers at Magic dedicating two hours weekly for Theatre Training. The sessions are divided as one hour for the younger aged children (6-12) and teenagers (13-20).
One performance has been produced with all the Special Actors – “Lyrical Ruins” - and staged for the public at the Actors Studios Box in 2002.
For the first time, the lessons for the year 2004 was sponsored by Nestle’ Malaysia.
Nestle’ Malaysia has continued their sponsorship for the year 2005 and 2006.
JJB intends to take one student from the teenager class to conduct the first 20 minutes training session at our other centre, SNLC. Their progress has been tremendous that we feel they are ready and able to accept this challenge.
· SNLC (Special Needs Learning Centre), Bukit Nanas
From January 2004, JJB started volunteering with the same concept of Theatre Training, at the Special Learning Centre which has 15 children.
We are seeking corporate companies to sponsor the work done by JJB at this school.
B. 3 day workshops
As JJB is unable to commit full time to any other special needs schools due to manpower and time constraints, we designed a programme where we conduct 3-day workshops for special needs children with the full involvement of their teachers/care givers. This enables the teachers/care givers to continue our theatre training work with the children on a weekly basis. We supply the teachers with all teaching aids and material. We visit the schools every two months to lend support to the programme.
· Our pilot workshop proved to be very successful. In early October 2004 we conducted this workshop with the children from Sekolah Kebangsaan Batu, Jalan Sultan Ismail where there are 22 children. Our subsequent visits to the school has shown that they have been able to continue the training successfully.
· Our second 3-day workshop was conducted in Singapore (Dec 01st to 03rd 2004) during the time that we were there for the Asian Children’s festival. It was well received by both children and parents.
We are seeking corporate sponsorship to fund this project to enable JJB to extend this programme to other special needs schools.
3. Workshop programme at Kuala Perlis for
‘Amazing Malaysian’- Awang Batil
Organised by DIGI. Children from Kuala Perlis and its surrounding area attended workshops presented by various theatre practioners in different fields (dance, percussions and theatre). Aim was to get them inspired for some of them to follow through with working with Awang Batil in traditional storytelling. JJB conducted theatre training to 4 groups of 15 children each over a two day period.
In 2006, JJB is conducting one day workshops with the other theatre practioners every Sunday in Perlis from Feb 12th to March 26th.This workshop will continue the work done earlier with the children and will culminate with a performance on March 27th 2006.
4. “The Jumping JellyBeans Holiday workshop programme” Dec 2005
“STREET PARADE” workshop for children
(ages 6 to 12)
“A street performance is never only a performance, but a complex intervention that could start a series of changes in the area of intervention. A street performance should not invade territories bringing the truth, but should meet the people.” (Antonello Antonante)
This workshop brought back the concept of performing in public areas where the spectators relate to the performance as a surprise to their daily life.
Performing in streets give the opportunity to meet people that are not used to going to theatre.
The children experienced the magic of theatre that can attract an audience in an open space as a park.
The workshop is based on the actors training to find stage presence and characters through an improvisation work and on costume and props making.
Children alternated physical work with craft work during the week workshop.
The workshop ended with a street parade done by the children in the Bukit Kiara Park.
“URBAN THEATRE” workshop for teenagers
(age 12 and above)
Urban theatre is an alternative to the traditional theatre space. People do not choose to see a performance; it just happens that they are part of an ongoing performance.
By utilizing the town architecture, actors interact with the space within their own characters.
The research is based on the relationship with casual spectators and pre-existing space, on the relationship between who acts and who reacts. It is a provocation and stimulation of emotions. It is an artistic interaction.
The workshop was based on the actors training work to find the stage presence and to find characters and eventually scenes were built through an improvisation work.
The workshop ended with scenes done by the young actors in the Taman Tun business district area.
5. “The Jumping JellyBeans Integration programme”
JJB’s Integration Programme is an annual event that undertakes special projects with children from different social background and with different needs working together to build a performance for the public.
2003 “Clown Workshop” was organized at Magic’s premises where
children from different nationalities worked together with children from the centre and presented a clown show in December 2003
2004 “The Dance of the Nativity” involved children from
The Special Needs Learning Centre in Bukit Nanas, the Italian
Community, Assunta Community Centre and Malaysian children.
It was a 2-day workshop and an event on 12th December 2004 that was held at the Community Service Centre. Project was sponsored by the Italian Embassy.
2005 “KL Children’s Theatre Festival’ saw special needs children and
typical children at the various workshops conducted during the 5 day
2006 “The Barter of Dreams” - Project was done in Kuala Kubu Bahru, a town about an hour's drive from Kuala Lumpur.
We worked with children from the Orang Asli community, the Chinese school, Divine Life Society, children of Bomba personnel in Kuala Kubu Baru. It included the different realities of the community. We conducted a weekly 2hr session (over a 10-week period) starting 1st week of April. A performance featuring all the children we worked with and the facilitators who came along during the various weeks were staged in Kuala Kubu Baru town in June 2006.
Contact for The Jumping JellyBeans Sdn Bhd:
Ms. Shanthini Venugopal / Ms. Cinzia Ciaramicoli email: firstname.lastname@example.org