Sunday Reads #4: PlayLab

3 May 2020

Fun, friendships, getting creative and exploring the arts, in this week’s #SundayReads, we look back and remember PlayLab, our summer school presented in partnership with Big People Music and Tasc.

There was a massive amount of energy in the room, so much enjoyment, enthusiasm, smiles and craziness; this was really something to celebrate” Anthony Missen, Co-Artistic Director, Company Chameleon

Designed for children and young people age 6 to 16, the free project, fused dance, music and architecture, and saw 25 participants take part.

The Summer School was a first for Chameleon and it was wonderful to welcome the young people into our own space for a week of activities.

Very quickly, the children and young people’s creativity and positive energy filled the studio, and with the guidance of the workshop leaders, everyone was busy playing, dancing, composing and building!

Over the week, participants worked together to design a soundtrack, create dance and movement, and build a set, in response to the structures and architecture of our building – the former Varna Street Primary School in Openshaw.

The week ended in a collaborative performance, which was shared with parents and friends.

One parent said: “I walked into find awesome high structures, interesting visuals and was treated to a 10-minute performance of loads of kids working together! Amazing!

Reflecting and looking back on the week, Learning and Participation Manager, Sam Broadbent, said:

Looking back, I feel very proud in the way that PlayLab came together. It was a pleasure to invite young people from the local community into our space and to see them work so positively together.  Thanks to the support from Arts Council England, the summer school was free – all the young people needed to bring was themselves and a packed lunch! 

It was the first time some of the young people had ever experienced the art forms, and to be able to learn about them through working with professional artists was fantastic. Many had also never performed in front of an audience before, so the performance at the end felt like a real achievement – for them and for us.

The summer school equipped the young people with a bank of new skills and a ton of new friends and we look forward to delivering something similar in the near future.

The short film below made by Ben Williams captures the spirit of PlayLab; the fun, the enjoyment and the friendships that were made through getting creative and exploring the arts. Enjoy the watch.

#SundayReads is part of The Wonder of Dance, our online programme for Spring. Explore the programme and click here. 

Don’t miss a beat

Be part of the Chameleon family and receive our regular newsletter to keep up-to-date with our news.


"10 was such a wonderful experience - I cant wait to see more of your incredible work!" "Effortless grace, strength, humour and athleticism - a visual treat!" "We brought 65 young people to your performance tonight - every single one loved it! What an amazing show!" "This show reminded me why I dance and what I’m constantly working towards! Thank you for this experience!" "Such beauty in the small moments of this show - please don't stop doing what you’re doing"

Thank you to everyone who comes to watch us perform and for all your wonderful comments and feedback!