Setting the Scene for StoryMakers

Setting the Scene for StoryMakers

Learn all about how we adapt classic fairytales for our StoryMakers Series

Our Creative Engagement Coordinator Alex, tells us all about the creative process when

adapting a classic fairytale for our hugely popular StoryMakers series.

"To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,

To gain all while you give,

To roam the roads of lands remote,

To travel is to live."

Hans Christian Andersen

Until a few days ago, I would have taken these words for granted. Whether it was researching places to go on holiday or staring out of a train window or even walking to work, being able to see the world was an everyday part of my life. Now, however, I write this sitting by the kitchen sink where I’ve spent most of the past 48 hours. As I read these words today, I’m once again reminded of what a brilliant writer and thinker Hans Christian Andersen was.

Since last August, the Octagon have been exploring classic fairytales, by writers including Hans Christian Andersen, and reimagining them for modern audiences as part of our StoryMakers sessions for children and the grown-ups who look after them.

When reimagining one of these stories, the writing journey starts with me reading through the original story a number of times until the main themes and elements of the plot begin to emerge.

From this, I’ll plan the bare bones of the structure, keeping in mind that the story should be around 15-20 minutes long. Some of the fairytales, such as The Snow Queen, are epic adventures with lots of different characters and settings so I will think about the parts which would be most exciting for our audiences to watch. Then I will start writing - with a few breaks for biscuits and walks around my front room for inspiration!

After I’ve completed the story, I hand this over to Imogen the Creative Engagement Manager, who directs all of our StoryMakers sessions. She reads through the script and thinks about how best to tell the story: how to bring an enchanted forest or ice palace to life, for instance, and how our audiences might be able to get involved. Imogen also writes the music which accompanies our stories.

On the day of the performance, Imogen will work with an actor to get the story on its feet by creating the world of that tale in the space and opening up that world to our audiences.

Then it’s time for the performance itself. This, really, is when the story comes to life with audience participation, singalongs and craft activities!

Enjoy StoryMakers at Home

Our next StoryMakers session was going to be The Ugly Duckling in April.

Whilst we are not able to bring you a traditional StoryMakers session at this time, we are currently working on a recorded StoryMakers series that you can enjoy at home.

These will be available in the coming weeks, be sure to keep checking our website and social media for more info.

As Hans Christian Andersen once wrote, ‘To travel is to live’, and while we might not be able to travel too far at the moment, in our imaginations the world is an open book waiting to be explored.

We hope that you will come along with us on these journeys.

Try our Get Creative StoryMakers Challenge and create your own StoryMakers. Find out more here