The Above and Beyond Theatre Festival was curated by the Above Bounds Theatre Company. and ran in three Plymouth libraries during October half term 2018.
We were building on the successful pilot project earlier in the year, where children from Southway Library helped ito create a new show “Atishoo, Atishoo".
The aim was to bring theatre to those who would not usually access the art and to diversify the theatre offer for children and families. With the help of Arts Council funding, all tickets were offered at a cost of £2 each. Plymouth Community Homes purchased a number of these tickets so that their residents could attend for free.
Seven different professional theatre companies, from around the UK, performed over the three days.
Feel Theatre - Sensory Circus is a company that specialise in creating sensory stories, shows and experiences for and with young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. The children had a brilliant time engaging with the glow in the dark alien puppet and getting involved in the singing and dancing.
Ditto Theatre performed the brilliant Ingo’s War, which told the story of war from a dog’s perspective and totally entranced the whole audience.
Collar and Cuffs Theatre Company performed Little Meerkat's Big Panic, which is an award-winning touring show based on Jane Evan's book for young children about understanding and managing anxiety.
Paddleboat Theatre brought Hansel and Gretel to the library, where children were able to watch a traditional tale and take part in the performance themselves
A Giant Went to Sea by Tiny Little Clouds was aimed at our littlest audience and involved lots of interaction and singing and had them spellbound.
Sticky Ends by Brave Bold Drama engaged the help of three volunteers from the audience who took part in the cautionary, spooky and funny tale of trick or treating
Oliver Harrison finished the festival with the hilarious Signor Baffo, which had the audience, both adults and children, crying with laughter and was a fabulous finale!
Alongside this amazing programme of professional works, we also had a range of free activities including craft workshops by Creation Station, Face Painting from Lydia’s Face Painting & Glitter Tattoos, and interactive music sessions from Moo Music Plymouth who staged a ‘take over’ of Southway Library’s weekly Rhyme time for toddlers.
Over 1300 people attended the festival making it a resounding success. We hope to hold a bigger and better festival in libraries in 2019, bringing new shows to Plymouth and reaching an even bigger audience.
Just a few of the comments we received.
"Sell out show mean it’s really needed in these places."
"What a fantastic experience, so imaginative, visual and wonderful storytelling."
"Awesome fun for kids and adults."
"It was brilliant for young children, the show was just the right length for our 3 year old and she understood enough to join in. Visually appealing for our 4 month old too!."