Dramatic Adventures – Vala program

Aeon Academy’s Vala Dramatic Adventures program is a unique mode of learning and play. It gives young people the chance to ‘live out’ different lives, times, and places by playing characters in an collaborative, improvised story. These “dramatic adventures” blend oral storytelling, improvised theatre, roleplaying, tabletop games, and live-action physical games to immerse participants in other worlds – whether historical, literary, mythological, or fantastical – and their stories.

The program draws inspiration from many places, but is a wholly original creation that has been exploring the educational benefits of imaginary play for nearly 15 years.

These holidays, we’ll be presenting the following exciting and dramatic adventures:

Week 1 (6th – 10th January)

Monday, January 6th: The World of Oliver Twist

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Be a part of the ragged cast of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist and explore the sooty streets of London at a time when orphan children had few options other than petty theft and crime. Practice your pickpocketing and join a band of child thieves working for the old fence Fagin in exchange for somewhere to sleep and a scrap or two of bread. Meet the Artful Dodger and Oliver Twist, steal the purses of the rich and foolish, plan a daring heist, and see for yourself what life was really like before kids had to go to school.

Tuesday, January 7th: Viking Warriors of Tiw

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Winter snows blanket the harsh landscape of Norway, and ancient feuding and bloody strife divide the Vikings that live there and turn village against village, tribe against tribe. Take up arms and join a band of warriors sworn to protect their families, crush their enemies, and uphold the justice of the one-armed god Tiw. 

Sneak and skirmish in the snowy woods, stand united in a shield wall, steal secret knowledge from the dwarves, defend your home from raiders, ambush your enemies, fight in bloody melees, quest to learn the secret that could end this war, and prove yourself as Tiw’s true champion. 

Will you uphold the justice of Tiw, and protect your tribe and village honourably?

Wednesday, January 8th: The Lion, the Witch, & the Wolves

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Endless winter grips the enchanted kingdom of Narnia, made famous by C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, and the terrible White Witch rules the land with an iron fist. Cast aside your two-legged form and join a pack of talking Wolves roaming and spying across all Narnia in service to their wicked, wintery Queen. 

You’ll eavesdrop on animals, compete for promotion, watch out for human children, and even face a towering giant! But as the snow starts to melt away and rebellion takes root all across the land, there may be a chance for you all to find a better way to live. 

Will you follow the White Witch in her wicked ways, or find another path?

Thursday, January 9th: Thor & the Giants of Fire, Ice, & Stone

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Stretching his strategy-challenged intellect to near breaking point, Thor, God of Thunder, has led a band of Ӕsir Heroes far away from Asgard in an attempt, with a preemptive strike against the Giants, to avoid the prophesied end-of-the-world, Ragnarok, which Odin has seen looming.

There will not only be Giants of Fire, Ice and Stone to fight, but also the opportunity to recruit allies from the Realm of the Dark Elves and the wondrous mines of the Dwarves, as well as to contend with the challenges of the mysterious hybrid creatures… the Trolls, who dwell in the uncharted woods and fens that lie between the Realms!

Friday, January 10th: Sci Fi: Arena 10000

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The Arena awaits. Alpha requires a sacrifice; Alpha, the god-like Artificial Intelligence that dominates the entire star system of Alpha Centauri

In Alpha’s name a massive gladiatorial tournament is held every century involving the greatest combatants snatched from throughout the universe.

Planet Earth’s representatives include Roman gladiators, Medieval Knights, savage Vikings, veteran Samurai, Aztec jaguar and eagle warriors, and more, all facing off against aliens from within and beyond their own little solar system.

Week 2 (13th – 17th January)

Monday, January 13th: Oliver Twist & Fagin’s School of Hard Knocks

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The gang’s back together! 

Be a part of the ragged cast of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist and explore the sooty streets of London at a time when orphan children had few options other than petty theft and crime. Practice your pickpocketing and join a band of child thieves working for the old fence Fagin in exchange for somewhere to sleep and a scrap or two of bread. Meet the Artful Dodger and Oliver Twist, steal the purses of the rich and foolish, plan a daring heist, and see for yourself what life was really like before kids had to go to school.

Will you discover Fagin’s secrets, or get caught and kicked out as spies?

Tuesday, January 14th: Return of the Viking Warriors of Tiw

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Mad furious viking woman warrior in the attack. Sward and shield. Close-up portrait. Book Cover

After a devastating defeat the intrepid Warriors of Tiw bounce back!

Winter snows blanket the harsh landscape of Norway, and ancient feuding and bloody strife divide the Vikings that live there and turn village against village, tribe against tribe. Take up arms and join a band of warriors sworn to protect their families, crush their enemies, and uphold the justice of the one-armed god Tiw. 

Sneak and skirmish in the snowy woods, stand united in a shield wall, steal secret knowledge from the dwarves, defend your home from raiders, ambush your enemies, fight in bloody melees, quest to learn the secret that could end this war, and prove yourself as Tiw’s true champion. 

Will you uphold the justice of Tiw, and protect your tribe and village honourably?

Wednesday, January 15th: Wild Days of Narnia

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Maugrim, Chief of Wolves, is dead! But the terrible White Witch, villain of C. S. Lewis’ The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, still rules Narnia and her greatest triumphs are still ahead of her. Trade two legs for all fours and join a pack of talking Wolves working as spies and messengers for the wicked Witch in this time of crisis and opportunity.

You’ll compete to see who will take Maugrim’s place as the next Chief of Wolves against the backdrop of melting winter, growing unrest, unfolding prophecies, all-out war, and Deep Magic being cast, and decide if you’re with the Witch or against her and her wicked reign.

Will you follow the White Witch faithfully, or answer the true Call of the Wild?

Thursday, January 16th: Time Bandits & the Plunder of the Aztecs

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What better way to visit significant times and places in history and culture than as a member of the ʻTime Banditsʼ? This band of multifarious midgets once served the Supreme Being, making all the small things like boulders and shrubs until they angered him by making a particularly smelly bush. After being harshly scolded they petulantly stole His Map to All-of-Space-and-Time and are now travelling through portals therein identified… stealing the greatest treasures ever known at the moments of greatest opportunity! (Just as we have stolen this idea from some of the original Monty Python team, ahem).

Travel through time and space to the Empire of the Aztecs in ancient Mexico just at the moment when their capital is about to fall to the conquering Spaniards, and their greatest treasures are (apparently) ripe for the picking…

Friday, January 17th: Sci Fi: Escape from Arena 10000

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The Arena is endless. Alpha’s hunger for sacrifice is bottomless; Alpha, the god-like Artificial Intelligence that dominates the entire star system of Alpha Centauri

In Alpha’s name a massive gladiatorial tournament is held every century involving the greatest combatants snatched from throughout the universe.

Planet Earth’s representatives include Roman gladiators, Medieval Knights, savage Vikings, veteran Samurai, Aztec jaguar and eagle warriors, and more, all facing off against aliens from within and beyond their own little solar system. 

Can you survive the endless gladiatorial battles for long enough to find a way to escape!?

Week 3 (20th – 24th January)

Monday, January 20th: Bushrangers: The Camp

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Explore the tangled wilderness of colonial-era Tasmania and learn how convicts lived and thrived there before the harsh tyranny of Governor Arthur. Range the bush hunting for valuable kangaroo and emu, make friends and allies among the Big River Tribe of Palawa Aboriginals, party and carouse down in Hobart Town, and meet the infamous Michael Howe before the heyday of Tasmanian bushranging comes to an end.

Tuesday, January 21st: Legend of the Sword in the Stone

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Take up arms and ride out in search of adventure and a better world for all as founding Knights of the Round Table. Chase mystery and mischief as young squires, come face to face with legendary figures like Merlin and Morgan le Fey, prove your mettle in battle and your nobility of spirits, pursue legendary quests and strange monsters, and take your place in the story of King Arthur and Camelot’s golden age.

Wednesday, January 22nd: Elf Tower in the Shadow of the Mountain

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After the clangour of battle has faded, and the Realm-changing events of the re-making of an ancient Dwarf mountain dominion, along with the glory of the enthronement of its Seven Sovereigns, has passed, a body of adventurers from the various hosts that had assembled are left wondering whether anything will ever match the intensity of their recent experiences. 

While the Seven Sovereigns and the Dwarfs of many bloodlines set about rebuilding their former domain, such a group of their guests find themselves nigh overwhelmed by a creeping melancholy and ennui. Then one day an idea springs up amongst them. Where it comes from exactly none can say, but it is an ‘idea’ which will lead them along many strange paths and through many varied adventures before at last they can attain their soul’s ease. It would appear that it is simply this- to gaze upon and be filled by the mystic wonder of… the Elf-Towers of Dawn.

Thursday, January 23rd: Sci Fi Returns: Lunar Escapades

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The year is 2099. Leaving a sad old polluted Earth of diminishing resources, massive overpopulation, and environmental disaster, a motley crew of a ne’er-do-wells seek new opportunities out in the Solar System for enterprising smugglers, thieves, hackers, and the like. From near-earth orbit to the Moon, from Mercury to Mars and beyond, get ready for the adventures of your life in a new era where the horizon is yet to be explored.

Friday, January 24th: Enter the New Vala School of Knightcraft & Chivalry

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Like their Templar ancestors before them in medieval times, students in today’s world accept secret invitations to join an ancient College of Knightcraft & Chivalry which remains hidden deep in the countryside of mysterious time-hallowed Cornwall.

Pack your sword and shield and reply via owl post to your invitation to join Vala School of Knightcraft and Chivalry. Join a brand-new class of Squires as they master the art of the sword and get into all the mischief that one secret school in the English countryside can hold. 

Sneak out past curfew, pull pranks on Belch the surly caretaker, explore the old smugglers’ tunnels in the high red cliffs, compete for house points and glory, and wander around in the nearby town of Redcliffe in between training, exercises, sword-sharpening, and mock battles.

Week 4 (27th – 31st January)

Monday, January 27th: PUBLIC HOLIDAY

Service closed. No adventure running.

Tuesday, January 28th: The Favourites of Mary Queen of Scots

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Take a job at the royal court of Mary Queen of Scots and experience the flourishing ‘Scottish Renaissance’ of her reign up close and personal. Work hard to meet her expectations, strive to be noticed and become a royal favourite, protect her person and reputation from the manipulation of foreign powers, and become caught up in the great events and vicious politics of Queen Mary’s eventful reign.

Wednesday, January 15th: Elf Towers: The Twilit Woods

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After a dreadful war has ended a group of survivors are pursuing a dream leading them along many strange paths and through many varied adventures in search of their soul’s ease. Along the way they re-discover, gaze upon and are filled by the mystic wonder of the many lost Elf-Towers of Dawn.

Leaving the northern battlefields behind, our travellers enter the fringe of a deep magical forest where stands a lonely ancient Tower. 

People in the town nearby said that the Tower had been raised by the Elfs, back in the dawn of days, but for a long time now it had been ruined.. But, as our travellers will find out… it is far from being empty.

Thursday, January 30th: Legendary Invitation to Tibet

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Counsel and advise King Trisong Detsen of ancient Tibet and vie for dominance and supremacy among your peers as one of the powerful and mystical Ministers of the ancient Tibetan government. 

Encounter the Indian demigod Padmasambhava, scheme in the shadows to help or hinder him, compete for the Elixir of Longevity, plan the conquest of kingdoms and the capture of their gods, and witness the legendary events by which Buddhism arrived in Tibet.

Friday, January 31st: Adventures in the New Vala School of Knightcraft & Chivalry

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Like their Templar ancestors before them in medieval times, students in today’s world accept secret invitations to join an ancient College of Knightcraft & Chivalry which remains hidden deep in the countryside of mysterious time-hallowed Cornwall.

Pack your sword and shield and reply via owl post to your invitation to join Vala School of Knightcraft and Chivalry. Join a brand-new class of Squires as they master the art of the sword and get into all the mischief that one secret school in the English countryside can hold. 

Sneak out past curfew, pull pranks on Belch the surly caretaker, explore the old smugglers’ tunnels in the high red cliffs, compete for house points and glory, and wander around in the nearby town of Redcliffe in between training, exercises, sword-sharpening, and mock battles.