AXP@Home Alumni Reunite for Artistic Halloween Workshop

Vampires, werewolves and witches galore! Arts-X-press is back for the fall season—this time through AXP@Home Alumni Workshops. 

This year, our summer arts immersion program, arts-X-press, went fully digital in response to ongoing covid-19 restrictions. Rebranded as AXP@Home, which transformed the typical arts-X-press environment into an online medium, this initiative brought together middle-school students who wanted to renew their own creative sparks amid the pandemic lockdowns. The program, which ran in two sessions between June and July, successfully fostered a close-knit community around instrumental music, theater, visual arts and more, despite the general limitations of an online format. 

AXP@Home’s first, Halloween-themed, workshop on Oct. 28 allowed students, counselors and staff to reunite from this past summer’s remote program to create more magic moments in the spirit of artistic creativity. 

The Halloween Creative Risks workshop—the first of a five-workshop seasonal series presented by Pacific Symphony’s Education & Community Engagement department—focused on the theater arts to facilitate creative expression. Led by some familiar faces from AXP staff—theater coach Becky Wheeler and four of our veteran counselors—our group delved into various theater techniques and Halloween-themed character improvisation. 

Counselors brought the energy to kick off our workshop with a quick “ice-breaker,” which instructed students to describe a character of their choice in 10 words. Instructor Becky then led them through a series of techniques revolving around “movement words” to produce tonal dialogue and vocal variance. 

Using such categories as “shape, weight, space, time and flow,” students could see how they can change their manner of dialogue to match a particular mood or goal of a script. For example, a “punch” shape might represent a “quick yell,” or “repressed anger” coming from “deep in your body,” according to multiple AXP students. This can be critical for making different character choices come to life. 

In Zoom breakout rooms, counselors and students worked together to expand on their character interactions, where they built foundations on Halloween character archetypes, using “moods” and “movements” to set characters apart from each other, along with their own personal touches, such as physical props or vocal styles. From there, everyone re-joined the main Zoom room together to share their group scripts and character choices in pairs! 

We hope that each and every one of our students enjoyed re-sparking the magic and will join us again for our next workshop in the AXP@Home Alumni Workshop series, Attitude of Gratitude, a Thanksgiving-themed workshop taking place on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

Please stay tuned to @artsXpress on Instagram and Facebook for updates on registration, news and content!