Photo: Gavin Joynt

Kimberley Hardy , Education and Outreach Officer, gives her refection on the work

In every notable way, The Boy with the Rollerblades is made for children.  The themes, approach, delivery, props, music, costume and narrative have all been created with childrens’ imagination in mind.  It is easily accessible, and the breadth of skill in this piece has something for every kind of learner.

Gary has an innate way of breaking the fourth wall with his audience and shares his skills humbly.  He was the pivotal inspiration for this piece, as Balbir wanted to make Gary’s unique talent more accessible to a wider audience by taking it off the ice and transporting it to the open stage.

Photo: Gavin Joynt

The topic of climate change can be overwhelming for KS1 and KS2 children, however the approach of this piece softens the intensity whilst still sharing the importance of protecting and caring for our Earth.  With Gary at centre stage, the audience have a friendly character to guide them through the story of the melting ice caps, with peaks of memorable entertainment and softer informative moments.

Poetry was created by the narrators both for musical purposes and as a creative way to share key information. Children have participated in workshops and created movement material inspired by these specific poems.  This has sparked open discussions about their own thoughts and feelings on the topic of climate change.  The creative approach of poetry and movement opens up a new dialogue for children, one that allows for all needs, ages and abilities to learn from.

Indian hand gestures are incorporated throughout the piece – showing movement inspired by animals, nature, the weather and children playing in the playground.  The topics are age appropriate, but displayed in culturally diverse ways which offers another layer to the depth of this work.  For those who find the gestures unclear, a storyteller narrates the movement to ensure that the work can be enjoyed by all.

Children find Gary exhilarating, and his movement on stage is captivating.  The impressive movement allows for the topics discussed to be memorable long after the performance has finished, making it a fantastic learning resource for schools and teachers.  Climate change is a vitally important topic and is often only lightly covered in schools, The Boy with the Rollerblades is an exciting and safe space for children to learn about the climate crisis without fear.  It is a positive, creative response to world events that supports, educates, inspires and nurtures climate awareness in children.  The connection between Balbir’s imagination and children’s is a new form of creative language.  Children are responding, listening and hearing what he has to say through his development of visual literacy and teaching.