With Lockdown 2 meaning children can no longer socialise with their friends after school or take part in their usual extra-curricular activities, Dramatis community drama school has introduced online Dramatis Playdates. These one-hour sessions bring together four friends via Zoom for a playdate led by Dramatis. Children are given a series of drama-based games and exercises to play with their friends whilst parents enjoy an hour to themselves as their kids are being (productively) entertained!
Having moved their programme online in the first lockdown, Dramatis has now welcomed over 75 Sussex adults and children for virtual drama classes and courses. This experience with their private groups means they can now extend their services to be able to offer this more flexible Playdate format.
As Dramatis Principal, Suzy Duxbury, explains: “Play is such an integral part of a child’s development; it lays the foundations for literacy and encourages communication and spontaneity. With children no longer able to play and socialise the way they used to, our Playdates bring friendship groups together safely so children can improve their social, emotional and cognitive skills and most importantly have some fun with their friends!“
Playdates are themed around a specific story and begin with some icebreaker games so Suzy can get to know the children, and vice versa. Having discussed the story plot, children are assigned drama-based exercises to develop their knowledge of the characters. They work in pairs and as a group of four as they go on to devise a short performance that is recorded and can be shown to parents.
Playdates are for friendship groups of four children aged 5 to 11. Younger age groups are themed around ‘Wonderful Walliams’ exploring stories by David Walliams, while older groups are based around ‘Riotous Roald’ and texts by Roald Dahl. One hour sessions cost £30 (for all 4 children).
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