One of the joys of storytelling is to make the story accessible to whoever is in the audience.
Here is a pic from a commission earlier this year- an audience member being General Garibaldi in the amazing story of the founding of Peek Freans biscuit factory in 1857.
As usual the historical context is the biggest challenge. How to explain dangerous factories and victorian poverty …not to mention the nature and need for ships biscuits… to modern three year olds in a fifteen minute tale while keeping adults and siblings engaged too?
Most children of that age don’t even know what a factory is- but when the whole point of the story is that a kind person made a good factory… that’s kind of fundamental!
I worked on the story for six weeks, including some rehearsal in a local school– these showed me that my early drafts were too complicated!
Keeping the story simple is the hardest part, especially where there are loads of fascinating details. But at last I’m happy with it now.
I decided to make a batch of ships biscuits in order to really convey what they were like. These obviously don’t get eaten so I can use them every time. They just get more and more convincingly revolting!
(ingredients: Flour, water, salt. Method, mix, put in pie-dish, prod with skewers and bake on a low oven for 400 hours)
DO NOT EAT THIS, THE LUMPS ARE JUST HARDENED FLOUR