It's Andy and Jon, from The Letter J!
Where on earth are we and what in dicken's name are we up to, I hear you ask? Well, we were working in collaboration with Glasgow based creative Katie Eyre on an immersive experience at Tramway's Family Day.
It was a right old treat playing some new musical loopy goodness, in the setting of a handmade, toadstool covered, forest floor. With paper mache' tree stumps and giant butterflies for company, we set about creating a mellow musical experience for the visiting families.
Andy put his techy hat on and worked some audio magic with some of the younger children in the space. He recorded them recounting their very own forest related stories and then weaved them into the soundscapes that we built up musically. I'm not sure how forest related one of the stories was, but it centred around one little un's love for chicken nuggets!
There were some visuals projected throughout the day which both myself and Andy had worked on. A new venture into the world of animation, but one which we are hoping to develop further in the next development period of Grandad and Me. Very much looking forward to it and we'll make sure to show some tasters on here once they're up and running...... stay tuned!
I've reworked this old illustration (the original inspiration for The Letter J's Grandad and Me) to include some fancy pants wallpaper inspired by the production. See which of Grandad's stories you can spot.....
Hej (hello) from Denmark!
That's right, The Letter J have gone international and are currently spreading the good word about our creative endeavours in Denmark no less! We've been treated to an array of magical performances for young audiences and are picking up lots of inspiration and ideas each and every day. Here's a bit of official blurb about the festival:
Festival 2013 is the 43nd Festival - Theatre for Young Audiences in Denmark. The festival (hosted in and around Nykøbing Mors), is the world's largest festival of its kind presenting a great variety of both national and international performances, the perfect opportunity to network, share knowledge and experiences and to attend inspirational seminars and conferences.
...And that we have, it's been a roller coaster ride of performances and networking. All thanks from The Letter J go to the most amazing organisation ever, Imaginate, who have very kindly brought us along for this beautiful ride....bikes n'awl!
We'll post more about the trip soon, but right now we've got more shows to get to!
Imaginate, Tak you very much!
Jon and Jude
Imaginate Festival 2013 is upon us and entire The Letter J team (even Andy, whose name we only just realised doesn't actually begin with a 'J' at all.....how did that slip by us?), were lucky enough to visit and see some incredible performances. An absolutely magical piece was Something Very Far Away by London based Unicorn.
The design of the production was what immediately grabbed me, with some inspiring sets, puppetry and animated models. The story (I'll try not to give anything away here), was very well paced and at one rather sad moment in the show, a six foot long hanky was passed along all four members of the letter J team, for simultaneous nose blowing.
It has left me with a bonse full of ideas and I'm very excited to see what influences all of the shows at the Imaginate festival have on our work as a collective. If you can, I thoroughly recommend getting along to see this performance and any others on the bill, the quality is blinkin' top notch....thankyou Imaginate.
The Letter J’s very own Judey Two Shoes received this glorious review in The Herald for her own interpretation of The Red Shoes, as part of Tramway’s Family Day.
The Letter J’s Jon Bishop also got a mention and will now be known as ‘the guitarist in the corner’ forever more!
Just one small step into the Tramway on Sunday, and you were greeted by giant leaps of the imagination, thought up and delivered by the kind of artists who really understand child’s play.
Upstairs, Brian Hartley was in residence, presiding over stacks of firm-but-foldable red paper, pots of paint and seemingly endless amounts of glitter. Nimble young fingers had already got to work making origami footwear as demonstrated in his Red Shoes:REDesign workshop – the results were sparkly slippers and even high-steppin’ boots of a fairy-tale fantastical allure. Eat your heart out, Mr Choo!
Downstairs, in Tramway 4, tinies were chilling out in the relaxing darkness of the Butterfly Room. Lots of squishy cushions on the floor, overhead a canopy of huge butterflies, and on-screen a succession of images ranging from whimsical animation to swirling flocks of birds in flight – all underpinned by looping, lilting music from the guitarist in the corner.
With the whole building jumping with enthusiastic weans, no wonder so many adults were keen to bring themselves (and their wee ones) into such a tranquil space.
The heart of the whole day, however, was a new theatre experience, The World of Judy Two Shoes, devised and performed by Jude Williams (of The Letter J) with input from a choice band of musicians, designers and artists.
With the usual seating banks removed, the whole of Tramway 1 was open to Williams’s richly engaging take on The Red Shoes, an installation-cum-performance that daintily side-stepped the gory morality of the Hans Christian Andersen original.
Instead, we follow in the footsteps of Judy as she merrily leaves her country cottage for the city, falls prey to the lure of sparkly red shoes that see her become a hot-to-trot dancer before, drained and exhausted, she returns to nature and is restored.
Shoes of all sorts are just one element of the cleverly detailed picturesque locations we visit with Judy.
Live music is another telling strand, with the versatile Ginger Snaps backing Williams as she sings catchy little ditties that keep us on a narrative track.
It adds up to a triumph of collaborative invention, albeit with Williams’s vision and joyous personality to the fore in this brilliantly bold approach to theatre for children. The good news is that it wasn’t just for one day, but returns for Christmas at Tramway. Take steps to see it, even if snow shoes are the order of the day.