The Baked Bean Company

Baked Bean Actors learning to fly!
This was a workshop with the Baked Bean Company who have been helping people with learning disabilities get more from their lives since 1997. They approached us to see if we could do a session to introduce some aerial into their repertoire! The sessions were set up as taster sessions in aerial hoop and aerial slings, as well as some hula hooping and scarf juggling! The focus was on challenging themselves to try some new and out of their comfort zone. The Aerial team consisted of the very experienced Hayley Ingle, Amelia Marchant, Lisa Castle and Edel Wigan.
Overall Aim:  
To challenge the students to learn a new skill. 
The workshop was planned by considering the 5 ways to Mental Wellbeing as follows: 

CONNECTING - To learn to trust and be trusted; being responsible for your own and others safety, we well as to build and improve social skills,  by creating a sense of belonging and community. 
During the workshops, participants work in pairs and in groups and needed to develop trust and responsibility.
BEING ACTIVE - To improve physical fitness and general wellbeing.
The nature of the workshop is very physical. The participants will be offered a mixture of warm up and cool down exercises as well as technique based learning and creative exploration. It is well known that keeping active makes you feel good and this permeates across all aspects of life.
BEING AWARE  - To develop increased levels of attention and focus.
Aerial fitness is exciting and fun, and also involves a degree of controlled risk. This will require participants to be present and mindful of the moment, helping developing a higher level of attention and focus.

LEARNING - To generate a sense of empowerment in each participant.
Our aim is to help the participants learn some basic aerial technique in a clear and simple manner with easy to follow step by step instructions. Learning a new skill can make you feel good about yourself, more confident and adventurous and we hope the participants discover and develop a new interest.

GIVING - To build up a general sense of wellbeing, personal and social responsibility.
During to the sharing nature of the activity both in pairs and in groups, the participants will learn how to help each other, creating a peer supported environment. Helping and being helped makes you and other people feeling good.

Project Summary

The session was focused on helping the participants develop some basic aerial vocabulary on silks and trapeze.

We also had as our objectives:
– Generating a sense of empowerment in each participant.
– Exploring creativity 
– Increasing personal motivation and determination
– Improve personal fitness and demonstrate alternative ways to enjoy physical activity
– Promoting team work

The results

There is no doubt that we all had fun during this session, the students were all really engaged right from the start!  Scarf juggling turned into partner and group games. Hula hooping turned into individual and then group routines. And that was before we even got onto the aerial section!

We were mermaids on Hoop, we were gazelles, and to be fair, getting on was sometimes challenging enough that we were able to enjoy the view when we got there! On the Sling, there was upside down action, standing, sitting and a little (well deserved) lying down!  You could feel the determination in the room and no move was left unachieved by anyone.

Age, ability, size, agility, it didn't matter. Everyone got on and tried what was asked of them. It was truly a fabulous afternoon.

Testimonial from a happy customer

"We had such a fantastic afternoon yesterday - the thanks is most definitely from us to you! Its always great for us to see our students step out of the norm and try new challenges and boy did they go for it yesterday!  As the group were so engaged with the session it would be great to think about having another one or two so that they could all advance in the skill and possibly even for us to look at a way of incorporating it into our next showcase performance! Thanks again to all the team!"

Jo - CEO The Baked Bean Theatre company