Elaine from the Scottish Storytelling Centre emailed me this review after our brilliant 1st performance of the Fringe today and it has inspired this blog…
“I just wanted to give you some feedback that we received about your show today. It was from a mum with two young girls, and she specifically came and asked us for a feedback form so she could let us know how much they loved the show. She wrote, “ Perfectly pitched for a 2 and 4 year old. Good mix of themes, music and dance (and puppetry) which were not too long before moving on to the next piece to keep you ones engaged. Loved the audience participation and improvisation. Will need to make some Starbird hats when we get home!” She also gave the show 10+ out of 10.
I actually saw this family leaving the show as I arrived at work this morning and the children were so delighted and telling their mum how “beautiful” and “amazing” the show was.”
When Starbird first made herself known in the deep recesses of the mind, she threw all sorts of crazy ideas my way and there is always terrific fun and anxiety at those first moments. Stories from storytellers evolve constantly and it’s great to know that you have the possibility of shifting and changing the flow of the story. Pure entertainment is great, puppets and rude noises and bogies will always guarantee a laugh. But for me…great childrens theatre is not always easy to get right! You have to please not only the children, but the parents too. Many times I have sat through a show wishing I was elsewhere (even though my daughter loved it!)
When putting a show together these are my top things to consider:
- Think of your audience – it will include children of varying ages, parents, grandparents, reviewers and theatre goers – and every single one of them must be catered for!
- Have a great story! A story well told will linger long after you’ve gone home and made dinner and gone to bed. A great story will come back to you years after you’ve heard it!
- What are your key objectives: is it to purely entertain? inform? How will this be done? – interaction, puppets etc…
- Culture – because I am passionate about Africa, these all have to be identifiably African. Children in Scotland might not notice…now! But they will be exposed to fabrics and designs very different to what they are normally used to… One of Picasso’s greatest influences were the African masks he saw in a museum in Paris! For other shows it might not be an African influence but anything to help place the audience in that world, be it imaginary or real!
- Imagination – Allow for plenty. it does not always have to be told. Simply feed a suggestion and imagination takes care of the rest. However it is always great for the audience to be able to share their thoughts immediately.
- Enlist the help of children in the creation of the story. Their free minds will bring to life all kinds of possibilities.
Starbird is a show that we at Toto Tales are particularly proud of. It does have a slightly frightening moment for very young children but goodness always prevails does it not? Fluffy sweetness does not always make it easy for tinies to distinguish good from bad and so overcoming this truly awful situation makes the audience/participants feel a greater pride in helping to right the wrong!
The wee cuddles close to mum or dad are soon replaced by an eagerness to get involved. The beauty of the story is that the family or group of people will have a beautiful shared experience and by talking bout it later they will get an insight into what the other saw. The children will remember things the grown ups missed and they will have interpreted things differently and vice versa. Come and join us with Starbird! Tickets here: https://ssc.tickets.red61.com/performances.php?eventId=913:572
Would love to hear what other shows have grabbed your imaginations? Or what other elements you think re important for childrens theatre.
Let us know here!!!