Stories

New Victory On Demand: Five Arts Break Activities

This season, as artists return to the New Victory stage, additional shows from around the world are now available on demand, to rent and enjoy from home. With the New Victory Arts Break activities below, you can watch a play… and play!

New Victory On Demand begins with the release of five exciting titles: Anansi the Spider Re-spun and Huddle from Unicorn Theatre in London; Erth’s Prehistoric World from the Sydney Opera House; Doodle POP from BRUSH Theatre in Seoul, South Korea; and The Snail and the Whale from London’s Tall Stories.

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New Victory Arts Break 2021-22 Season On Demand

(Re)write a song (Anansi the Spider Re-spun)
In Anansi the Spider Re-spun, Anansi goes on three mischievous adventures and learns a lot of important lessons. And sometimes, he does it through song! Let’s explore the art form of songwriting by writing our own lyrics to a familiar tune with New Victory Teaching Artist Julia Sirna-Frest.

Eager to keep writing? Use the worksheet below to continue practicing your songwriting skills. Who knows? Maybe soon you’ll even be inspired to come up with melodies of your own!

Arts Break Song Rewriting Template

Challenge!

Interview someone and ask them to tell you a story that has been passed down to them that contains a piece of advice. Does their story inspire a song? Write it together using the method above, or create your own approach to songwriting!

Animal Exploration (Erth's Prehistoric World)
Erth’s Prehistoric World explores our remarkable planet way back when, from the origins of life to when dinosaurs walked the earth. There are so many creatures to explore! In this activity, let’s learn how to move like the animals that are still walking around in Australia, with New Victory Teaching Artist Ugo Anyanwu.

Step One: Think about all of the creatures you met during the show. You can also check out video from Erth’s Dinosaur Zoo, which was on the New Victory stage in 2012, and reference the Geological Time Scale below to follow the timeline of the dinosaurs, going back 650 million years!

Geologic Timescale spanning 650 million years of life

Step Two: Choose a dinosaur to embody. Think about:

  • How is this dinosaur shaped?
  • How does it move?
  • What sound does it make?

Step Three: Repeat steps one and two until you have practiced becoming multiple dinosaurs!

Step Four: Now that you’ve practiced, it’s time to test your family or friends! Can you start acting like a dinosaur in front of someone? Don’t tell them what you’re pretending to be—ask them to guess!

Challenge!

Play a game of “Guess the Creature” charades! Take turns acting like real, mythical, prehistoric or modern creatures. Can the other players guess what you are?

Character Parade (Doodle POP)
The performers in Doodle POP go on an adventure using their imaginations, creating entire worlds just by doodling on a whiteboard! Even from home, we can use our imaginations (paired with a few items) to create new and amazing stories of our own. Parade along with New Victory Teaching Artist Jamie Roach as he demonstrates how a few simple costume changes can transform you into a whole cast of characters.

How can you create characters at home? Here’s an activity to help you start exploring:

Step One: Read over the list of stock characters below, or think up your own:

  • A hero
  • A villain
  • A monarch
  • A business person
  • A jokester
  • A cool person
  • A pirate
  • A wizard or witch
  • An artist
  • An athlete
  • Add any other stock characters you can think of!

Step Two: Head to your closet (or your costume box, if you have one) and pluck out some items that might work for some of these characters.

Step Three: Quick change time! Have someone in your family shout out a character at random. You have 30 seconds to quickly change into the outfit that best represents that character! When the 30 seconds are up, strike a pose that really brings that character to life!

Challenge!

Act out an activity and see if your friends and family can guess what you are doing each step of the way. A great first start is miming what you do in the morning from waking up to starting class! (The real challenge here? No words!)

Creating Characters (The Snail and the Whale)
In The Snail and the Whale, a young girl and her dad transform the world around them to recreate a favorite story, each taking on the roles of various characters and using objects around her bedroom to tell the story. In this activity, follow along with New Victory Teaching Artist Ugo Anyanwu as he interviews household objects to create characters for an original story.

An interesting character can provide inspiration for an entire story! Get inspired by Ugo’s object interview questions to create an original character.

  • What’s your name?
  • How old are you?
  • What are your hobbies or interests?
  • Where are you from?
  • What’s it like there?
  • What are your hopes and dreams?
  • What do you want?
  • What stands in your way?

Try this with several objects and see if you can imagine relationships between the characters you create. Who knows? Perhaps a story will start to emerge!

Challenge!

Pick your favorite story and bring one or more of the characters to life, just like the father and daughter from The Snail and Whale. Use the interview technique to cast some of the characters or introduce new ones!

Make a Play (Huddle)
Huddle, told through illustrations, lovely music and the soothing voice of a narrator, is the story of a papa penguin and his chick surviving in Antarctica against the odds. Stories can come from real-life experiences or from your imagination, but they always contain characters, a setting and a plot. In this activity, combine these elements into your own quirky story with New Victory Teaching Artist Ana Cantorán-Viramontes!

The way that Ana built her story was a sort of game. Once she’d chosen different story elements at random, she had to get creative to weave them all together into one story. No two people with the same story elements will create the same story! Ready to try? Here are some instructions and suggestions to get you started.

Materials: Paper, writing utensil, three containers (bowls will work well), your imagination!

Step One: Label each container with one of the three categories: characters, settings, plots. On slips of paper, work with a friend or family member to write out different examples for each category. Then place them in the containers. Here are some examples to get you started:

  • Characters:
    • A friendly witch
    • A grumpy clown
    • An energetic dog
    • A shy snake
    • A manic chef
    • A kind child
    • A fearful prince
  • Settings:
    • An enchanted forest
    • A studio apartment
    • An overgrown cabin in the woods
    • A rickety rocket ship
    • A spooky basement
    • A pristine yacht
    • A moonlit beach
  • Plots (think of challenges or conflicts your characters have to overcome):
    • Their computers are all broken
    • They are scared of the dark
    • They float into the air every time they laugh
    • They are enduring an endless rainstorm
    • They are afraid to go to sleep
    • They have too much pasta in their house

Step Two: Have one person at a time pick one slip of paper from each container. For character, you can choose to pick more than one.

Step Three: Draw your play! As you pluck different story elements from your containers, draw what you imagine them to look like. Continue drawing out important moments in your story and put them together to create a small storybook.

Step Four: Act out the play you drew with friends or members of your family! Use your imagination and improvise—don’t overthink it. Whatever comes to mind, however weird or wacky, will only make the play more fun.

Challenge!

Think of a time when you were brave and faced a challenge. Then draw it! As you draw, think about where you were, how you felt, and how you overcame the challenge. Then share your story with a friend or family member.

Thanks for playing along and tuning in! New Victory Arts Break continues all season long, and more New Victory On Demand titles will be launching in 2022.

New Victory Arts Break Supporters

New Victory Arts Break is funded, in part, by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council,and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.

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