Friday was our first opportunity to work in the basement where the Christmas event will take place. It gave me a real sense of how the whole event will take shape and I'm looking forward to the dress rehearsal on Friday when we will hear all the stories and see what will be happening and when. I'm really looking forward to the event now and seeing the rooms full of people and the stories in full swing.
I am working with Siobhan and Emily on The Bear Who Found Christmas, which will take place in the long corridor by the stairs. We felt that this was a great space as the story is set in an old toy shop. Children will often play and create their own worlds in all sorts of weird and wonderful places that we just wouldn't think of, and i feel that the use of the corridor brings this out. Stories can be told anywhere, as long as you really believe that the chair you are sitting on, for example, is a mountain then the children will believe it too. They love to use their imagination and these stories will give them the opportunity to do this.
I was reading an article about children's theatre in Time Out which spoke about the way that the majority of children's theatre is big and loud and colourful, but actually young children are very good at seeing the beauty in small, subtle things. They are often a lot better at it than us, and many new shows have worked with this principle in mind, such as Katie Mitchell's Cat in the Hat at the National. I think that we should think about this in terms of our Christmas stories. We don't have the option of using huge amounts of props, set, costumes etc, but i don't think that it will matter. As long as we fully invest in each story and really create an atmosphere then the children will do the rest themselves.