Week two of Cha Cha Sam’s Postcards From Nanna tour raised excitement at each library visit.
On Monday, the Pakenham Library space is large and alive with noise. As the team are setting up, a woman dressed in layers of lace petticoats and a rose garland in her hair rushed towards the space and proclaimed she’s staying for the show. Her carer countered that they are NOT staying for the show. And it’s on! A battle of wills stepping across the cables and the merch boxes.
Librarian Julie diffused it gently and cleared the way for us to set up safely. The audience flowed in and the show was off and racing. This was the first show back in town. We laughed and flew.
After the show Librarian Julie showed us her lovely tattoos, each symbolising a significant event or person. Our bodies can be maps of remembering.
On Tuesday, the Knox Library audience settled. Half the front row of little kids had face-painted animal faces or masks on. It was like performing to the meerkats at the zoo.
As the show went on more and more adults accumulated at the back, turning the show into a rollicking public space event with uproarious laughter.
After the show Zoe came up to Cha Cha Sam to say ‘Thankyou for such a good show.’ An astute critic.
Helen Matthews, Children’s Librarian, loved the messages of loving our differences and remembering that if we are not Indigenous then we are all immigrants.
Helen ran around the huge Myer carpark to help the team through the maze to the library carpark. Happy to help Helen’s heart health.
During Wednesday’s visit to Cranbourne Library the team meet the legendary Cha Cha Sam supporter Librarian Cenza Fulco. Cenza has booked Cha Cha Sam in her library circuit since the beginning in 2007. All our dealing have been over the phone, so it was such a pleasure to meet face to face.
Cranbourne kids search for Nanna.
The audience at Cranbourne Library is reticent to assemble. For the first time ever Cha Cha Sam does an announcement from her pre-show hiding place to call the kids in. And sure enough, in they come from in between shelves and magazine racks. They are shy but warm slowly till they are right into it all. There were some great little moves in the dance sequences.
After the show a family came up to take a photo with Cha Cha Sam and show her the photo they took 18 months before at a Narre Warren Library show. So they set themselves up in the same configuration to do take two.
Thursday’s performance at Nunawading Library is a ripper. The last performance is always a beauty because there’s no more saving a little fuel for tomorrow. At Nunawading, the team finally met another legendary supporter of Cha Cha Sam in libraries – Robyn Burns.
The audience is young and jumpy and needs a little wrangling from Cha Cha Sam. They are so shy and distracted at first then suddenly they get it and the whole audience seems to jump on stage at the same time to help Pauline the Parrot fly.
It’s mayhem. But that’s only after a small kid offers to show Pauline how to fly from the audience but when invited to come up to the performance area declines with a look of horror because ‘I can’t fly. I don’t have feathers.’ Which, of course is also Pauline’s issue.
Building Community Engagement Using The Arts – a Professional Development
And lastly, a group of Whitehorse Manningham librarians get together on Friday to upgrade their use of arts in story time and community engagement events. Using Postcards From Nanna songs and activities gives them really easy, structured ways and the language to include the cultural voices of their communities in storytelling/storymaking sessions.
It’s always pure pleasure to be with professionals as they take up the creative challenge to use their higher order intelligence; to immerse in humour and play. In every Cha Cha Sam Professional Development there is a point where everyone in the room softens, let’s down their guard and lets themselves learn something new. It seems that allowing oneself to learn is a life-long challenge. We work with it in young children. We work with it in adults. We work with it in ourselves.
This point of softening happens around making the Me and My Nanna Gallery. Delving back into memories of your relationship with a significant older person can bring back the experience of tenderness we held for them and a strong compassion for ourselves as small children. The cultural signifiers that come out of these drawings run deep in our identity e.g. ‘Nonna couldn’t speak English, I couldn’t speak Italian and she taught me how to cook. We communicated through food.’ Or ‘ Mamon taught me how to paint.’ Or ‘Gran took me swimming in her navy togs with her wrinkly wrinkly arms and legs.’
Sharing these stories weaves a beautiful cultural exchange into a communal story fo differences and commonality.
These heart stirring activities are available on the newly released Postcards From Nanna DVD.
CLICK HERE to enquire about a Cha Cha Sam Professional Development on Building Community Engagement Using the Arts.