Creative Kin was a three-year project (2020 – 2023) bringing together artists and kinship families in North Ayrshire. We delivered free, weekly creative play sessions designed to help kids and their carers play, get creative and spend some relaxed time together.
Play! Dance! Pause! Repeat! Our Doorstep Jukebox has been delighting kinship families in North Ayrshire this spring. But this is no coin-operated music machine – our interactive performance puts under 5s in the driver’s seat, pushing buttons to control a real life human jukebox, full of songs from different decades. Families sharing this experience together has brought some much needed joy and connection for us all at a time when usually, the only outside contact with the world is when the postie rings the doorbell.
The performance was designed specifically for the Covid world. It’s socially distanced, with safety measures built in, and now that lockdown restrictions are beginning to ease off, we are grateful to be able to bring this work to families, and safely too. Right now, we are outdoors, singing in the streets and enjoying the spring, but the idea took root during the dark months of the winter lockdown.
Our Creative Kin Lead Artist, Kirsty Pennycook, tells us how.
“The seed of this idea sprung up over the winter lockdown, whilst we were reimagining how to connect with under 5s and their carers, who would ideally have been meeting up in weekly sessions to get creative and socialise as a group. Taking something fun right to families’ doorsteps felt like a great move to brighten up people’s days, and at a time where we all feel a little bit powerless, I wanted to find a way to put under 5s in control of the action, because I’ve rarely seen that happen. Kinship families are most often multi-generational so the Jukebox idea was born as a way to appeal to babies, aunties and great-grannies alike; the show includes around 18 songs spanning seven decades! From Elvis Presley to Little Mix, we hope there is something for everyone.”
As with many creative ideas, other people are involved to bring the idea to life, Kirsty explains,
“We initially created the Doorstep Jukebox on Zoom with actor-musician Harri Pitches, pulling together a playlist of songs we thought everyone would love. A big part of rehearsing was planning all the different ways the show could go depending on what buttons were pressed, which was really put to the test during a real-life rehearsal day, planned by our Creative Kin Coordinator, Anna Downie. We visited 4 different families of different ages to see how they all reacted, and made changes to the show to make sure it went down well with the whole family. Doing a practice run really paid off, because the shows we brought to Creative Kin families went down even better than we had imagined, and we can’t wait to get everyone together at our events in Summer.”
Right now, families are receiving Play Packs inspired by the Doorstep Jukebox so they can carry on the fun at home, and the Creative Kin team have started taking the show to nurseries in North Ayrshire.
Keep an eye out for a blog by artist Harri Pitches, who will share his experience of the creative process that resulted in our Doorstep Jukebox.