Our First Try

On May 3rd 2011, thanks to the support of Bard College Classics department, we had the chance to present our project to the faculty and students, as part of the Bard Ancient Studies Symposium. With the Classics professors’ help, we were able to set it up, and to find three children, aged respectively five, seven and ten years old willing to participate in an interactive experience. In front of an audience of approximately 25, we first explained our project and its objectives. This presentation was followed by a try out of what we are actually planning to do when we meet with classes around the world.

Thus Andrew told the myth he had prepared to the children and the audience: the two stories of King Midas. This exciting narrative was illustrated by our artwork, showing our own interpretation of the myth. We had a drawing for each story, and a few others used to explain the meaning of some specific words to the children: a satyr, a lyre, a panpipe …

When the storytelling was over – King Midas’ shameful secret being revealed to the world, we encouraged the children to choose a story they knew and to take 20 minutes to get inspired by it to make a drawing. We also invited the audience to participate in this drawing session, and were really glad to see everyone take a pen or a crayon to join the activity.

After a very creative and inspiring art session, we invited the children to become the storytellers: and they dived in this role with no embarrassment, and a lot of enthusiasm. The younger boy drew, with the help of an adult, an episode of Homer’s Odyssey, before he told us a poem about this epic,

the seven-year-old girl chose the story of Daphne and Apollo,

                                                                                                                                               and the oldest child offered an inspired version of the myth of Icarus.

All of these stories were based on wonderful drawings.

As it was a school night, the children left early, but this was not the end of the Symposium: some members of the audience were eager to share their stories with everyone. And we heard amazing interpretations of Cinderella, the myth of Phaeton, some family foundation stories, or a funny German story.

From our, the children’s and the audience’s point of view, this night was a success, full of beautiful artwork and inspiring stories. This gives us great hopes for the actual journey!

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