Each year the company develops and tours a high-quality performance that brings together participatory opportunities for the audience with exciting theatre forms. The work draws on compelling stories and historical events to pose questions, stimulate discussion, and invite engagement with issues that have resonance for young people living and learning in the 21st century.
The Blahs have recently completed early stages of research and development for two exciting new shows for children, which saw us working with organisations who have specialist knowledge of the topics we are exploring.
During the Summer of 2021, we worked on a new production entitled Guerrilla Gardening, where we joined forces with the charity Trees for Cities.
“Working with local schools in this research and development stage has allowed us to test the wrap around activities that will accompany the performance, as well as to develop ideas for the show itself” says Blahs’ Artistic Director, Deborah Pakkar-Hull. “We want to introduce children and their families to plant and food growing experiences that can be done in small spaces; they will be getting their hands dirty (literally!). The workshops have helped us to understand what children know and feel about gardening, growing, and the themes we are exploring.”
We also partnered with leading African theatre company Utopia Theatre to start work on bringing the wonderful children’s book Anna Hibiscus’ Song by Atinuke to the stage. We worked with nurseries in Leeds and Sheffield to explore the story and delve into Anna’s “Amazing Africa”. This involved a series of high quality and engaging workshops where children met the characters of the story and discovered Anna’s world through drama and storytelling activities. Children and their families were later invited to see work in progress and give their responses.
Deborah says, “We want to create a magical performance filled with movement and dance, music and song and lots of interaction. The story can help young children to understand more about their feelings and how to manage them, as well as being a joyful celebration of culture, family and the power of storytelling.”