13th August, 2016
City Centre, West Bromwich
Junior Commentators was a rare creative learning project that took place in the school holidays. We worked with twelve members of the Lyng Media Club, who were aged between 5 and 12 training them to become junior commentators. The final performance, a two hour sports commentary on events in West Bromwich town centre was presented as part of Sandwell Arts Festival.
In order to prepare we had two three hour long sessions where we practice the skills commentators need. We played games in which we had to think quickly and speak spontaneously. We practiced being imaginative and working speaking in pairs back and forth. We built trails of dominoes to topple and commentated while others did this task. We run mini-slot car races and commentated on these. We practiced commentating on what we could see outside the church hall even though not much seemed to be happening. On the second day of practice we did most of the same things only better and with microphones.
The performance took place on a very windy day. There were special green Street Commentators t-shirts to wear. We pretended we were on the radio and worked as a team spotting people going by and reporting on their activities. We had a speaker under our table so everyone could hear what we were saying across the street. People stayed to listen and often laughed at having everyday things made the subject of commentaries. Some people realised they were being commentated upon and changed what they did in order to alter the commentary, sometimes they would wave or smile or laugh or even start running. It was good fun and near the end a man and woman walking past gave us a big bag of toffee flavour popcorn as a reward for our efforts.
Everyone had a go, even the shyest member sof the group and we all ended up speaking clearly in public to anyone who would listen passing by.
Commentary by: Lyng Media Club
Lead Artist: James Yarker
T-shirt design: Denise Stanton
Photographs by: Lee Allen, Kemet Tenkamenin and Stan’s Cafe.
Commissioned by: Creative Black Country