Saturday, 12 December 2009

Christmas well in sight

I do so hope our actors are still standing come Christmas!
Every year is busy at this time, but this one has really capped them all. Imagine the outcry when I delivered the news that they had to fit in three schools on one day, and each with a different play. Although geographically possible I did keep my fingers crossed that the speed cameras were not out in force.
Schools are always wonderful places during the pre Xmas run, with the festive decorations and activities and the excitement it all creates.
At this time of year the emphasis is invariably on entertainment, but come the new school term it will be back to education and, I suspect, a continuing demand for Theme Days allied with Drama Workshops. Gone are the old days I remember when one sat and made notes while the teacher seemed to be "droning on" (no offence). No, today it is all "hands on" and are we glad to see it. Given the right encouragement and stimulation the children never cease to impress us with their initiatives and innovations.
On the subject of droning on.... enough.
In case I do not get another chance I now wish all my readers a Merry Xmas and a Prosperous New Year.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

That was some week!

So many performances last week of "Uggers" as it is affectionately known by us!
Children all over London and the Home Counties were enthralled and delighted when our hero made friends first with a frog, then with a cat and, finally, with all the other beautiful swans.
The audiences joined in, some coming on stage to sing "The Jumping Song" with Frank "Revit", and even more for the little ducks that went swimming one day. Fortunately, they did all come back.
I cannot speak for the Nation but for us National Anti-bullying Week was a great success, and we got the message across to over 1,500 children in just five days.
Before I leave just to remind all you teachers that most schools have their "book week" in March. So, if you want to avoid disappointment in 2010 get on the phone or email me quickly as we are already taking many bookings .

Sunday, 15 November 2009

"Hanging from the rafters"

Well we really packed them in yesterday at The Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn for two performances of "Not such an Ugly Duckling".
This coming week is "National Anti-bullying Week" and we have lined up no less than ten performances of this play and several associated Drama Workshops at nine different schools.
Is there somebody out there who can give us a hand please?
Joking aside, we are thrilled to be so sought after, and feel proud that we are able to offer a little something towards the endeavour to halt bullying.
I think I can reasonably predict that this relatively new play with its life size puppets is very much here to stay.

Friday, 13 November 2009

DIWALI (Festival of Lights)

Last month we were thrilled to have been invited to conduct some Workshops during the Diwali Festival. The Workshops were for pupils at Freemantles School in Mayford, Surrey. A school dedicated to the education of children with autism.
The Workshops consisted of creating rangoli floral pattern designs, mask making and lamp painting and decorating.
The children were just as excited as we were and the morning fairly flew by.
Whilst we would never presume to be experts in this form of art, we certainly benefited from the experience, and were pleased we had previously attended some Diwali festivities and witnessed the magnificent artwork.
Hopefully, we will be asked back next year; perhaps even to other schools.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Half Term is over

Not much time to rest as we were in theatres, sure start centres and art centres most of the week.
Highlights included another visit to Lains Barn near Wantage, The Landmark Arts Centre in Teddington where we performed "Henry VIII" to a packed house, and a trip to The Hub Theatre in Verwood by The New Forest where 150+ seats were filled to watch " The Adventures of the Gingerbread Man".
The phone is still ringing, mainly with late enquiries for a Christmas show. Strange how Christmas takes so many by surprise. I usually find it comes around towards the end of December!!!
We have managed to squeeze in the odd one still, very often after school hours.
Our thanks to those of you who have said so many kind things about "Robin Hood Rescues the Forest". Any misgivings we might have had have now entirely dispersed.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Mostly for the Young'uns

A busy week with lots of "Billy Beware!" and "Ugly Duckling" is coming to a close. Well, almost, as we will be at Blackheath Halls this afternoon with "Aesop's Fables".
Thursday was a really special day we will not forget in a hurry. We had the pleasure of performing on the open day at the Bagshot Children's Centre (2 performances of "Billy" to packed audiences). But what made it so memorable was the official opening of the Centre by the Countess of Wessex, who delighted everyone by visiting the children in their classes.
I was the "roady" for the day and took great pleasure in seeing so many kids and parents enjoying themselves. The Centre had laid on many treats; Bouncy Castle, Go Carts, Punch and Judy, Lego Building, Smoothie Making, Face Painting, Balloon Modeling, to name just a few. Oh, and everything was free including the food.
It was a deserving success, and I and the actors thank you for our bag of "goodies",. Perfect for the grandchildren when they go swimming.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Christmas on the Horizon

Well haven't I been remiss! Mid way into October and nothing written.
Well, the truth is I am so knocked out by the reviews we are getting following the September launch of our latest production "Robin Hood Rescues the Forest" that I am having trouble just keeping up with the bookings.
Add to this the effort of trying to accommodate those looking to book "Ugly Duckling" for National Anti-Bullying Week, and then allow also for the frenzy associated with the demand for "Billy Beware!" during National Safety Week and you start getting the picture.
And as if this is not enough to contend with I am also juggling with schools and their "Literacy Weeks". They all want "Aesop's Fables".
Of course the literacy week invariably clashes with the other two making life a complete nightmare.
But don't get me wrong. I love every minute of it
Now please excuse me as I have to rush off and deal with yet another crisis.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Now the Autumn term has started

Summer seemed to fly by this year and we are now filling rapidly in the run up to Christmas.
Plenty of Saturday and the odd Sunday bookings are adding to the busy spell; no time for relaxation!
Today we entertained the children at Luton Library with "The Hare & the Tortoise". It was a lovely end of summer day and the square was busy with an international food festival, and firefighters' demonstration; a real carnival atmosphere.
On Monday we start in earnest at the schools with bookings every day, and next Sunday we are looking forward to performing at Wyllyots Theatre in Potters bar. The following Saturday you will find us doing two back to back productions of "The Gingerbread Man" at Lauderdale House in Highgate. We love this venue as, having once been the home of Nell Gwynne, it has bags of character.
If you still want us before Christmas do pick up the phone and call 07836 731872 or email Albert at to avoid disappointment.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

The New School Year

No sooner had the Autumn term begun on the 2nd September than we found ourselves driving to Birmingham the very next day to perform our ever popular "The Story of Aesop's Fables" to a lively bunch of 4 to 11 year olds. My, those Foundation Stage kids were tiny!
Everybody loved it.
The long journey proved useful as the actors were able to do a line run on the new Robin Hood play while I had the easy job of dealing with the motorways!
I guess we are back in the thick of it now as the phone is melting and the emails are pouring in.
Our two plays for the young, "Billy Beware!" and "Not such an Ugly Duckling" are in demand, particularly as schools and nurseries are responding to the Government's "anti-bullying" and "safety" initiatives.
At this rate I shall be lucky to find the time to write any more.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Two interesting days

Last week saw us at two very different venues.

On Monday we performed "The Story of Aesop's Fables" and conducted a Drama Workshop for Richmond Mencap at Orleans School in Twickenham. The play was a great success and everyone had a deal of fun with the Workshop, none more so than the carers and helpers. The groups came up with some really novel, and often amusing ideas for their 2/3 minute performances, and we all went away knowing it had been very worthwhile.

In contrast, on Thursday we travelled north to Worksop, and performed "Not such an Ugly Duckling" to a packed house at the Acorn Community Theatre. A venue we have visited before, and one that always makes us truly welcome. The children and the adults were enthralled by the puppets, and we breathed a big sigh of relief since this was our first puppet show in a theatre. The initial stage fright soon melted away as the audience quickly took up the theme and really got into it. It certainly helped with the long journey home.

Gingerbread Man at Lains Barn

The Gingerbread Man has certainly run away from some magnificent places in his attempts at finding somewhere better to live, but he would be hard pressed to improve on this one for his perfect home.
Dating in part from 1750, this listed timber building set in rural Oxfordshire with views over the Vale of the White Horse, and once a store for corn, was the perfect venue for our most popular play for the very young.
Yesterday, we entertained an almost full house and, despite the hot sunny weather, and with all "his run, run as fast as you can" our eponymous hero managed to keep his cool.
The kids had a wonderful time, as did all the mums, and a good many dads and grand folk.
We hope to be back there in the Autumn half term with two more of our favourite plays.
Many thanks Lains Barn for a glorious day.

Friday, 14 August 2009

"The long hot Summer"

On the 6th August we had a welcome break from the intensive rehearsal schedule, and had the pleasure of entertaining children at the Children's Theatre Marquee as part of Cambridge City Council's "Summer in the City 2009" festival at Jesus Green.
It poured with rain all the way there from Woking, but 30 minutes after we arrived at 9.00 a.m. the sun came out and stayed with us all day until the return journey. In fact, we just about got loaded when the Heavens opened.
What a super day it was. We performed "The Gingerbread Man" to a packed house in the morning, and "Search for the Lost Tomb", our play on Ancient Egypt, to a large receptive audience in the afternoon.
Between times we enjoyed the many delights of that historic University City, including watching the many punts on the river Cam.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Finishing the Summer Term

Another successful school year has about come to a close. This one was particularly rewarding as we celebrated our tenth anniversary as a Theatre in Education Company.
A new play was launched for nursery and infant children, and it was our first venture into puppetry. Judging by the excellent responses and new bookings we have received, it seems we mastered it well. The subject we chose was anti-bullying and the play we wrote was based on the traditional "Ugly Duckling" story. Anti-bullying week in November is filling rapidly.
Between Summer bookings we are heavily into rehearsing another new play. This time the theme is "Environment and Ecology". We have used a well known mythical character, Robin Hood, and created a production for the whole primary age range. Without giving away too many secrets, the wicked Prince John intends burning down Sherwood Forest to finally rid it of outlaws. Recognising the ecological disaster looming our hero has other ideas. Fully researched and brim full of music, humour and even some Morris Dancing, this play has already been pre-booked. I hope we gather the props, backdrop and costumes, oh, and learn the script before the first performance!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Test Post

Aesop's Touring Theatre Company specialises in Theatre in Education, touring Schools, Art Centres and Theatres nationally throughout the year with plays and workshops specifically written and designed for Nursery, Infant and Junior age groups.

In addition we perform regularly at children's parties where the emphasis is very much on fun and entertainment. There is always a good deal of music, songs and participation and interaction with the children. Our four nursery and infant productions "Gingerbread Man", "Hare & Tortoise", "Billy Beware!" and "Ugly Duckling" all fit the bill perfectly.