During the Easter break there’s a treat in store for kids of all ages, as the Scotland-wide Puppet Animation Festival comes to Woodend Barn, Banchory.
From its humble origins around a campfire, storytelling evolved quickly to incorporate inanimate objects and it is said that the first puppets were used in India around 3,000 years ago. To this day most cultures still use puppets to tell tales.
The Puppet Animation Festival continues this tradition with three ingenious re-tellings of traditional tales, starting with Folding Theatre Puppet Company’s production of the eternal children’s classic, The Snow Queen. Based on Andersen’s beloved fairy tale, it is the story of little Gerda’s adventure as she sets out across the wintry northern tundra to rescue her playmate Kai from the frozen-hearted Snow Queen. Dealing with love, loss, endurance and triumph, Folding Theatre brings the story magically to life in its own distinctive style. You can catch this performance on Monday 4 April at 2pm.
Next in the Festival comes Storybox Theatre’s inventive telling of the Jack and the Beanstalk with much theatrical grandeur in Jack. Is Jack stupid or smart for selling his mother’s cow for just five beans? Internationally acclaimed storyteller and puppeteer Rod Burnett weaves a tall tale of high adventure. With a Celtic harp, Irish bodhrán and tabletop puppets, he tells a story of enchantment and magic, of cruelty and humour, of ingenuity and triumph over gigantic adversity on Monday 11 April 2pm.
With the current penchant for ‘mash-ups,’ Garlic Theatre’s production of Little Red Robin Hood merrily mixes up the two tales of the forest with glove puppets, false teeth and a frying pan. Why is Robin Hood wearing girl’s clothes and what is lurking behind the trees? Is that the Sheriff of Nottingham or the big bad wolf? In this fast and funny family show, Garlic Theatre entertains audiences with generous helpings of slapstick, clowning and musical delights. Don’t miss it on Tuesday 12 April at 2pm. All three performances are suitable for ages 4 to 11 and lunch will be available at Buchanan’s Bistro beforehand.
For older children, award-winning Scottish children’s theatre Catherine Wheels is performing Caged in association with Brunton Theatre at MacRobert Hall in Tarland on Thursday 14 April 7pm. In this dark reworking of classic tale, Beauty and the Beast, he licks his hands, stands on the toilet and runs through the woods, she carries a hankie, sends thank-you notes and keeps her shoes clean. Beauty and the Beast will never get on, or will they? Caged is the story of two people who, when trapped together, find more freedom than they can imagine. Director Gill Robertson uses a highly physical style and an innovative set to give new life to this tale and with it links to key curriculum areas and themes for P6-7 and S1 - S4.
Back to Woodend Barn in Banchory and the final showing of the Puppet Animation Festival later that month on Tuesday 26 April at 9.45am and 11.30am. Tania is just back from France and in her suitcase she has brought back her tiny French garden where Lapin, a little French rabbit is dying for breakfast. A fun tabletop show in English with French words carefully dotted throughout, Lapin wants Breakfast by Le Petit Monde is a story for all budding young French speakers and Lapin lovers aged 3 to 7.
All above productions are supported by North East Arts Touring, Creative Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council.
Tickets are available from Woodend Barn on 01330 825431 or online at www.woodendbarn.co.uk