by Author Henry Dawson

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Hunting of the Snark

A Snark made by the young carers
A Snark made by the Young Carers

As part of a Partnership with Burn the Curtain, who are a South West based company that focuses on Outdoor theatre, we worked with young carers in County Durham. Burn the Curtain were in Hamsterley Forest as part of a tour of a play they produced called ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ in partnership with the Forestry Commission and with funding from the Arts Council England. As part of this partnership we were to deliver audience development and enrichment activities with local young carers. Durham Family Action helped us to identify young carers who would benefit from such an experience. As a part of this the young carers were invited to attend the dress rehearsal of the show and meet the actors.

 

At the end of May, 2018,we worked with the group in Hamsterley Forest to create a piece of work in relation to the Poem that inspired the play, ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ by Lewis Carol. At the start of the month we went out to the forest to use the Snarkhunter app, developed by Burn the Curtain, which helps to contextualise the play and takes you on a route around the forest and has to be used on site. We then went to the dress rehearsal of the play by Burn the Curtain to help inspire them and give them ideas. On Monday 28th on May we met up with them again to begin our work creating something for this theme. As well as working on a piece of music we did different activities to help inspire us with various verses. On the first day we explored the forest. Looking at various different parts of it like the stream and trees and bridges. Coming up with interesting ways to describe them and explain what they were. We then went back to the room we had and began trying out different instruments we had brought to see which ones sounded right for what we wanted. As we tried the different instruments we came up with different rhythms and melodies and started to get an idea of the theme of the song.

 

On the Second day we went out once more and gathered various twigs, branches and leaves. The group then drew up ideas for what some of the various creatures in the poem might looks like, specifically the Snark, Boojum, Jub-Jub Bird and Bandersnatch. We had these inspire the song and began coming up with lyrics inspired by the creatures and made the frames of three of them so that we could have little models out in the forest as an addition to the song to mark out the work they had done.

 

On the Third day we finished the creatures and the lyrics, finally adding music and practising it through a few times. The song they had made was a summery of the poem and its more exciting moments. They broke up the song so that they could all sing but those less confident with singing had less and just shouted out various words, such as the animals mentioned. For the performances they all had their own instruments and parts to play, many of them actually playing two different instruments. The creatures were made of biodegradable materials and left in the forest to slowly degrade while the song was sent to Family Action so that it could be shared with the young peoples families.