Handmade Theatre company came to perform for a class of school children at the Waverley Theatre in Nottingham. I liked their philosophy of creating theatre outside the national curriculum and for families rather than just children because it allows children to engage with their families and with something new and exciting. They toured their performance ‘Flying the nest’ about birds this summer at various locations such as parks, art centres and festivals. Although we saw the performance in and enclosed space it was interesting to see how their performance could be shown in varying location due to their versatile set design.
The performers emerged from a wooden shed and began talking and singing with the children about birding, using instruments such as the recorder and the violin. The children were sat in willow nests in a semi-circle around the shed connected to it by washing lines transporting bird food to the nests. I could imagine this set in an outdoor environment because of the organic shapes of the willow and the natural look of not only the larger items of set but also the props and costume, for example, bird wings made out of patchwork fabric. Seeing this performance has helped me to consider the importance of audience and space when creating theatre and in particular theatre that needs to tour, perhaps in non-theatrical spaces.
As the name suggests this company had a handmade feel which I preferred to other young people’s theatre that can tend to use bright, bold colours to engage a younger audience. The Handmade Theatre company immersed the audience by asking them to look after a specific bird and feed it whilst also turning into specific birds through costume, puppetry and masks. I think the work this company creates will help to develop my own speculative design project that needs to tour in a school space for 10-12 year olds.