Study Guide

Grug and the Rainbow

About this guide

This education resource has been developed by Windmill Theatre Co for the production Grug and the Rainbow with links to the Australian Curriculum F-2 and the Early Years Learning Framework. Activities have been created to suit each of the achievement standards from Years F to 2 and content descriptions within each learning area as well as the general capabilities. This resource provides teachers with information to help prepare students before attending the performance, as well as structured learning activities for the classroom after viewing the performance. General Capabilities The general capabilities are embedded within specific learning activities in this Study Guide and can be identified with the following icons:

The general capabilities are embedded within specific learning activities and can be identified with the following icons:

Synopsis

Grug began his life in the late 1970s as the top of a Burrawang tree that fell to the ground. Resembling a small striped haystack with feet and a nose, Grug is fascinated by the world around him and solves everyday problems creatively and without fuss. Grug loves dancing, soccer, baking and fishing, but most of all he loves to go on adventures. One day when Grug goes for a walk the sky suddenly turns dark and it starts to rain. When the rain stops Grug is surprised to see beautiful coloured stripes across the sky. He tries to chase them but they always remain just beyond his grasp. That night when Grug goes to bed tired and sad, all he wants is a rainbow of his own. Grug’s journey to gather the colours of the rainbow takes him on all sorts of adventures - to the beach, playing a drum, encounters with bowerbirds, riding his bike, painting a house and even a trip to the snowfields. His friends Cara the carpet snake and Snoot the echidna join him as he explores a world of colour to unravel the mystery of the rainbow.

Note from the Director

I don’t imagine there will be many occasions in my career that I’ll get to work with one of my childhood heroes – but creating this show was one of them! It was an exciting privilege to create the first Grug show with Windmill Theatre Co, and was a very rare opportunity to create Grug and the Rainbow as a sequel. I was a huge fan of Grug growing up in Australia. The original Grug book was one of my favourites. I vividly remember the images of Grug evolving from the bristly top of a tree, and imagined all the corners of his intriguing, underground home. There was something unique about Grug that captured my imagination as a five-year-old.

Grug is the only creature of his kind, and is perhaps unique for a children’s book character, as he doesn’t have any family to guide him through his experiences in the world. Instead, Grug learns to solve the challenges he encounters on his own, using his creativity, inventiveness and generosity. Perhaps Grug’s special kind of independence and adventurousness is part of what makes him so appealing to a young child.

In Grug and the Rainbow, Grug adventures into the world around him – and sets out to catch all of the elusive colours of the rainbow so he can create his own. This production has been created by a group of artists that shared my childhood love of Grug – from the lovingly crafted set and puppets designed by Jonathon Oxlade; the idiosyncratic soundscapes created by DJ TR!P; to the inventive, genuine performances of the actors that bring Grug and his friends to life.

Did you know Grug and his friends have visited 39 different cities all over the world - including in China and the USA!

Cast and Creatives

Sam Haren

Director

Sam is a Creative Director of Sandpit, a company that create immersive, and interactive theatre and personal experiences. Sam was the Artistic Director of The Border Project from 2002-2012, directing or co-directing all of their work during that time.

Jonathon Oxlade

Designer

Jonathon studied Illustration and Sculpture at The Queensland College of Art and has designed sets and costumes in Australia for Windmill Theatre Co, Queensland Theatre, LaBoite Theatre, Is This Yours?, Aphids, Circa, Arena Theatre Company and many more.

DJ TR!P

Composer

DJ TR!P is a multi-award winning producer, composer and performer of electronic music. Over a career spanning 20 years he has built an impressive repertoire of live compositions for his club sets, a variety of high profile events and productions.

Chris Petridis

Lighting Designer

Chris completed his Technical Production course at the Adelaide Centre of the Arts. Since graduating, he has been working extensively and continuing to develop his experience across theatre, dance, and other live events both in Australia and overseas.

Tamara Rewse

Puppet Maker

Tamara has worked in numerous areas of the performing arts since 1997 including as a Director, Devisor, Maker and Singer. She has toured both nationally and internationally. She has also worked as both a performer and puppeteer for numerous shows.

Characters

Grug

Grug started out as the top of a Burrawang tree that fell to the ground. He resembles a small striped haystack with feet and a nose.

Snoot

Snoot is an echidna and is one of Grug’s friends.

Cara

Cara is a carpet snake who is one of Grug’s friends.

Performance Literacy

Students viewing live theatre can experience feelings of joy, sadness, anger, wonder and empathy. It can engage their imaginations and invite them to make meaning of their world and their place within it. They can consider new possibilities as they immerse themselves in familiar and not so familiar stories.

Watching theatre also helps students understand the language of the theatre. It is part of the holistic approach to developing student literacy. They learn to ‘read’ the work interpreting the gesture and movement of a performer; deconstructing the designers’ deliberate manipulation of colour, symbol and sound; and reflecting on the director’s and playwright’s intended meaning.

While viewing the show, students’ responses can be immediate as they laugh, cry, question and applaud. After the performance, it is also extremely valuable to provide opportunities for discussion, encouraging students to analyse and comprehend how these responses were evoked by the creatives through the manipulation of production elements and expressive skills.

Having a strong knowledge and understanding of theatre terminology will assist students with this process. Therefore, before coming to see Grug and the Rainbow with your students, explore the different roles involved in making a performance happen, from writing, directing and performing, to lighting, projection, set and costume design and construction.

Theatre Etiquette

Visiting the theatre is very exciting. There are some guidelines that students can follow regarding appropriate behaviour in the theatre and during the performance that will allow their visit to be even more memorable.  Prior to visiting the theatre prepare students for what they will experience as an audience member using the following questions:

Where can you sit?

  • An usher (front of house – FOH) will help you find your seat so you need to follow their directions.

How do you know when the performance begins?

  • The lights will dim and/or you might hear a voice-over or sound. That’s your cue that it has begun and it is time to settle and be quiet.

How is going to the theatre different to going to the movies or watching television in your loungeroom?

  • Something unique to theatre is that it is ‘live’ and the actors are real. You can hear and see the actors, and they can hear and see you.

What is the relationship between the audience and the performers?

  • As the actors can see and hear you, your responses to the performance show your appreciation to the actors. So, show your enjoyment!

Final points to remember:

  • turn off your mobile phone (even the vibration of a phone or lit screen is distracting);
  • avoid eating in the theatre and rustling paper;
  • cover coughs and sneezes;
  • don’t film or photograph the performance due to intellectual ownership.

Early years learning framework

Outcome 1 Children have a strong sense of identity

Pre-performance activities

Activities

1.1 Children feel safe, secure and supported
1.3 Children develop knowledgeable and confident self-identities
1.4 Children learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect

Play introductions and applause. Students take it in turns to stand up and tell the group their name. After each child has a turn, everyone gives them a huge round of applause. This builds confidence and can lead to discussions about how to be a supportive audience member. If they are confident enough, you can progress the game to include an action with their introduction or a sentence about what they like to do.



Post-performance activities

Activities

1.3 Children develop knowledgeable and confident self-identities
1.4 Children learn to interact in relation to others with care, empathy and respect

Take photographs of your students preparing for the visit to the theatre, in the foyer and at the end of the performance when the actors invite the audience to view the set.

Make the photos into a book or develop a slide show on a computer or screen in a central, accessible location. Provide opportunities for children/family members to view, interact with, and respond to them.



Outcome 2 Children are connected with and contribute to their world

Pre-performance activities

Activities

2.1 Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation

Have discussions about attending the theatre. What shows, if any, have they seen performed? What rules did they have to follow? What were their responsibilities? Create a good audience chart.

In your drama corner, set up a Grug house. Have children contribute to the set with drawings, Grug puppets and props to provide for creative play.

Reflective Question

What do we need to make our home comfortable?



Post-performance activities

Activities

2.1 Children develop a sense of belonging to groups and communities and an understanding of the reciprocal rights and responsibilities necessary for active community participation

During post-show discussions, give your students time and opportunities to listen to others’ ideas and respect the different ways of being and doing.



Outcome 3 Children have a strong sense of wellbeing

Pre-performance activities

Activities

3.1 Children become strong in their social and emotional wellbeing
3.2 Children take increasing responsibility for their own health and physical wellbeing

Combine gross and fine motor movement and balance to achieve increasingly complex patterns of activity in dance, creative movement and drama.

Make puppets (finger and hand) or 3D versions of Grug which can be manipulated by adults and children. Use for a peek-a-boo game. Make mobiles or shadow puppets using cardboard (adult assisted).

Have discussions about how the author Ted Prior has conveyed movement and emotions for Grug, Cara and Snoot through his illustrations.



Outcome 4 Children are confident and involved learners

Pre-performance activities

Activities

4.1 Children develop dispositions for learning such as curiosity, cooperation, confidence, creativity, commitment, enthusiasm, persistence, imagination and reflexivity
4.2 Children develop a range of skills and processes such as problem solving, inquiry, experimentation, hypothesising, researching and investigating

Rotate the Grug stories as the feature story of the week. Have a selection of the Grug books in the drama/reading/home corner and turn it into a lending library.

Guide children to make observations on how Grug solves problems; set up a drama role play focused on solving a problem, e.g. Grug is having a party but his food cupboard is empty. How/where can he find enough food for his friends?



Post-performance activities

Activities

4.3 Children transfer and adapt what they have learned from one context to another

Visual art

Experiment with mixing paint to make the colours of the rainbow.

Drama

Role-play aspects of the performance with Grug puppets.

Literacy

Jointly read the Grug series of books.

Science

Conduct an experiment with seven different cups of water, adding a few drops of food colouring to each one (one red, one orange, etc.) Place a white flower (rose, daisy or carnation) in each and observe the flowers each day to see how the dye changes the petals.

Sensory area

Create rainbow jelly and submerge plastic animals or characters in it for your students to play with.



Outcome 5 Children are effective communicators

Pre-performance activities

Activities

5.1 Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes
5.2 Children engage with a range of texts and gain meaning from them
5.3 Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media

Have a range of the Grug books available for students to look through. Discuss the characters in some of the books, focusing particularly on Grug. In your craft/painting area, have string, paper and paints available in the colours of Grug so that students can have a go at creating their own version of him.

Have students explore the different facial expressions/body language that correlate with different emotions/reactions (e.g. happy, sad, angry etc.). You could use small hand held mirrors for this, or get the children to mirror each other in pairs, focusing on moving slowly and trying to copy the emotion their partner is portraying.



Post-performance activities

Activities

5.1 Children interact verbally and non-verbally with others for a range of purposes
5.3 Children express ideas and make meaning using a range of media

Talk/draw/write about the performance of Grug. Use open ended questions. E.g. what did you enjoy about the performance? What do you remember? Did Grug have a colour that is your favourite? What colour did he paint the house, and why? What happened when he went to the beach/the snowfields? Who were his friends and how do we know that they were his friends?



Australian Curriculum F-2

Drama

Pre-performance activities

Activities

After reading some of the Grug stories, tell your students to imagine that they could become Grug. Ask questions such as: How old do you think Grug is? Where did he come from? What is his favourite colour? What is his favourite food? Build on this by asking clarifying questions such as: How would Grug walk? How would he talk? Ask your students to demonstrate their responses.

Help students to explore movement and awareness by asking them to move like Cara the snake. Then ask them to pretend they have quills like Snoot. Ask them to move around the classroom without spiking each other.

Introduce theatre vocabulary: actor, stage, performance, audience, clapping, etc.

Talk about theatre performances. Consider the following questions: Why do people make theatre? What are the titles of people who make theatre and who work in theatre? (E.g. actor, director, front of house, usher, etc.)

Talk about other performances they may have seen (professional, sibling school concerts, etc.)

Learning Outcomes

  • Explore role and dramatic action in dramatic play, improvisation andprocess drama (ACADRM027)
  • Use voice, facial expression, movement and space to imagine and establish role and situation (ACADRM028)


Post-performance activities

Activities

Remind your students about the part in the show where Grug goes to the beach. Discuss sun safety with them. What things do they have to do to stay safe in the sun, and why? Role-play situations where someone isn’t doing the right thing (not wearing a hat, sunscreen etc.) and someone helps them to make a better choice.

Working either in small groups or as a whole class, ask your students to create a short play about sun safety. Brainstorm ideas for plot and lines with your students and record rough notes to create a written script at a later date. Spend time rehearsing and learning lines, before performing the play to an audience. Remind your students that they are communicating a very important message through their performance and discuss other performances they might have seen that have portrayed a message.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explore role and dramatic action in dramatic play, improvisation and process drama (ACADRM027)
  • Use voice, facial expression, movement and space to imagine and establish role and situation (ACADRM028)
  • Present drama that communicates ideas, including stories from their community, to an audience (ACADRM029)


English

Pre-performance activities

Activities

Read some of the different Grug books with your class. Ask students to comment on the stories. Which are their favourites? Do they have a favourite character? Does Grug experience any problems that your students can relate to?

Using illustrations from one of the Grug books, ask your students to retell the story and put the illustrations in the correct order.

Learning Outcomes

Foundation Year

Literature and Context

  • Recognise that texts are created by authors who tell stories and share experiences that may be similar or different to students’ own experiences (ACELT1575)

Interacting with others

  • Listen to and respond orally to texts and to the communication of others in informal and structured classroom situations (ACELY1646)

Examining literature

  • Identify some features of texts including events and characters andretell events from a text (ACELT1578)
Year 1

Literature and Context

  • Discuss how authors create characters using language and images (ACELT1581)

Interacting with others

  • Engage in conversations and discussions, using active listening behaviours, showing interest, and contributing ideas, information and questions (ACELY1656)

Examining literature

  • Discuss features of plot, character and setting in different types of literature and explore some features of characters in different texts (ACELT1584)
Year 2

Literature and Context

  • Discuss how depictions of characters in print, sound and images reflect the contexts in which they were created (ACELT1587)

Interacting with others

  • Listen for specific purposes and information, including instructions, and extend students’ own and others’ ideas in discussions (ACELY1666)

Examining literature

  • Discuss the characters and settings of different texts and explore how language is used to present these features in different ways (ACELT1591)


Post-performance activities

Activities

Tell your students that they are going to write a party invitation to a friend (or to Grug if you prefer). Explicitly teach the layout of an invitation and model a class version before allowing students to create their own. You could use a computer program to include pictures. If you are completing the orange activity, you could have students create invitations to send to another class, inviting them to see your sun safety play.

Learning Outcomes

Foundation Year
  • Understand that texts can take many forms, can be very short (for example an exit sign) or quite long (for example a book or a film) and that stories and informative texts have different purposes (ACELA1430)
Year 1
  • Understand that the purposes texts serve shape their structure in predictable ways (ACELA1447)
Year 2
  • Understand that different types of texts have identifiable text structures and language features that help the text serve its purpose (ACELA1463)


Science

Pre-performance activities

Activities

Make a rainbow experiment

What you’ll need:

  • A glass of water (about three quarters full)
  • White paper
  • A sunny day

Instructions:

1. Take the glass of water and paper to a part of the room with sunlight (near a window is good).

2. Hold the glass of water above the paper and watch as sunlight passes through the glass of water, refracts (bends) and forms a rainbow of colours on your sheet of paper.

3. Try holding the glass of water at different heights and angles to see if it has a different effect. Take photos of your students conducting this experiment.

What’s happening?

While you normally see a rainbow as an arc of colour in the sky, they can also form in other situations. You may have seen a rainbow in a water fountain or in the mist of a waterfall and you can even make your own, such as in this experiment. Rainbows form in the sky when sunlight refracts (bends) as it passes through raindrops, it acts in the same way when it passes through your glass of water. The sunlight refracts, separating it into the colours red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

Learning Outcomes

Foundation Year

  • Science involves observing, asking questions about, and describing changes in, objects and events (ACSHE034)
  • Pose and respond to questions, and make predictions about familiar objects and events (ACSIS037)
  • Participate in guided investigations to explore and answer questions (ACSIS038)
  • Compare observations with those of others (ACSIS041)
  • Represent and communicate observations and ideas in a variety of ways (ACSIS042)

Year 1

  • Everyday materials can be physically changed in a variety of ways (ACSSU018)
  • Science involves observing, asking questions about, and describing changes in, objects and events (ACSHE021)
  • Pose and respond to questions, and make predictions about familiar objects and events (ACSIS024)
  • Participate in guided investigations to explore and answer questions (ACSIS025)
  • Use informal measurements to collect and record observations, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS026)
  • Use a range of methods to sort information, including drawings and provided tables and through discussion, compare observations with predictions (ACSIS027)
  • Compare observations with those of others (ACSIS213)
  • Represent and communicate observations and ideas in a variety of ways (ACSIS029)

Year 2

  • Science involves observing, asking questions about, and describing changes in, objects and events (ACSHE034)
  • Pose and respond to questions, and make predictions about familiar objects and events (ACSIS037)
  • Participate in guided investigations to explore and answer questions (ACSIS038)
  • Use informal measurements to collect and record observations, using digital technologies as appropriate (ACSIS039)
  • Use a range of methods to sort information, including drawings and provided tables and through discussion, compare observations with predictions (ACSIS040)
  • Compare observations with those of others (ACSIS041)
  • Represent and communicate observations and ideas in a variety of ways (ACSIS042)


Post-performance activities

Activities

Have a discussion with your class about the blue part of the play. Remind them that there was a bird who had a blue feather in its nest. Discuss animal homes and list all the different types of homes your students can come up with (nests, burrows, dams, trees, etc.) Why do animals need these homes? Where do they raise their young?

Ask your students to research a different animal, using picture books, information from computers or printed articles, etc. They can then create their own report on that animal and its home. If they are confident enough, ask some students to present their report to the class.

Learning Outcomes

Foundation Year

  • Living things have basic needs, including food and water (ACSSU002)

Year 1

  • Living things live in different places where their needs are met (ACSSU211)

Year 2

  • Living things grow, change and have offspring similar to themselves (ACSSU030)


Health and Physical Education

Post-performance activities

Activities

Discuss the part of the performance when Grug goes to the snowfields. What things do we need to keep us warm and safe in a cold environment? What about a hot one? Role-play a few situations where a person is ill-equipped for the weather they are experiencing. How might you feel, for example, if you were in the snow without a jacket?

Ask your students to create a game based on keeping safe and healthy in a cold climate. It could be similar to tag but when a child is caught they have to freeze like an icicle. Or it could be a relay game where the item being passed is a warm winter jacket. Give them time to create and play their games, then choose one to play as a class. These games can be re visited as warm-ups in your subsequent PE lessons.

Learning Outcomes

Foundation Year

  • Identify people and demonstrate protective behaviours and other actions that help keep them safe and healthy (ACPPS003)
  • Identify and describe emotional responses people may experience in different situations (ACPPS005)
  • Identify actions that promote health, safety and wellbeing (ACPPS006)

Years 1-2

  • Recognise situations and opportunities to promote health, safety and wellbeing (ACPPS018)
  • Perform fundamental movement skills in a variety of movement sequences and situations (ACPMP025)
  • Create and participate in games with and without equipment (ACPMP027)


Mathematics

Post-performance activities

Activities

Discuss the yellow part of the play – when Grug gets his first bicycle. What shapes come to mind when you think of a bicycle?

Get your students to name, classify and describe different 2D shapes. Ask them to create a crazy bike where the wheels are no longer circles, but a shape of their choice. Depending on ability, they could either draw or stick down pre-cut shapes to create their new vehicle.

Take a vote in class of your students’ favourite 2D shapes. Using a simple Excel table, record the votes and teach your students how to create a graph from this data. They can experiment with what type of chart they wish to present their findings with.

Learning Outcomes

Foundation Year

  • Sort, describe and name familiar two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional objects in the environment (ACMMG009)

Year 1

  • Recognise and classify familiar two-dimensional shapes and three-dimensional objects using obvious features (ACMMG022)

Year 2

  • Describe and draw two-dimensional shapes, with and without digital technologies (ACMMG042)

Digital Technologies (F-2)

  • Collect, explore and sort data, and use digital systems to present the data creatively (ACTDIP003)


Design and Technologies

Post-performance activities

Activities

Remind the students of the part in the show when Grug goes to paint a house. Explain that they will be designing a house for one of the characters, taking into consideration any personal specifications (i.e. slopes rather than stairs for Cara the snake).

Using various craft material (cardboard, wood, sticky tape, hot glue guns etc.) allow the students to create their own home for their chosen character. It could be painted one block colour (their favourite, or one from the show) or they could incorporate a pattern design.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explore the characteristics and properties of materials and components that are used to produce designed solutions (ACTDEK004)
  • Explore needs or opportunities for designing and the technologies needed to realise designed solutions (ACTDEP005)
  • Use materials, components, tools, equipment and techniques to safely make designed solutions (ACTDEP007)


Dance and Music

Post-performance activities

Activities

Discuss the interactive dance sequence the children took part in during the show. Explain that you will be creating your own piece of music using body percussion and then choreographing a short dance to go with it. Allow students to experiment with different ways of making noise with their bodies (clapping, slapping knees, stomping feet, banging tables, etc.) and create a repeated rhythm that is easy for all to sustain. Build on this by adding short movement sequences to the music, guiding your students towards matching the movements to the music (louder parts in the song could have larger movement, e.g. jumping, and softer parts could have smaller movements, low to the ground). You could have half the class dancing and half performing their body percussion song, or you could record their music and have the whole class dance together.

Learning Outcomes

  • Explore, improvise and organise ideas to make dance sequences using the elements of dance (ACADAM001)
  • Use fundamental movement skills to develop technical skills when practising dance sequences (ACADAM002)
  • Create compositions and perform music to communicate ideas to an audience (ACAMUM082)


Additional Resources

Create your own rainbow

Rainbow template

Print out this template and get your students to use it to create their own rainbow, and draw their own Grug.



Acknowledgements

Produced by Windmill Theatre Co. Original study guide created by Drama Education Specialist Julie Orchard. Updated in 2017 by Drama Education Specialist Natalie McCarl.

The activities and resources contained in this document are designed for educators as the starting point for developing more comprehensive lessons for this work.

© Copyright protects this Education Resource. Except for purposes permitted by the Copyright Act, reproduction by whatever means is prohibited. However, limited photocopying for classroom use only is permitted by educational institutions.

This resource is proudly supported by the South Australian Department for Education and the Lang Foundation.

  •  Lang Foundation
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