As part of our ongoing Captivate partnership with Wester Hailes Library, Clovenstone Community Centre and WHALE Arts we are excited to be working with Edinburgh based visual theatre company Tortoise in a Nutshell to support them to adapt their show Hibernate for presentation in community settings.

WHALE Arts and Wester Hailes Library are currently hosting a two week rehearsal period for the show and throughout this time the company are delivering a fantastic programme of open rehearsals, puppetry workshops and storytelling sessions for families, creative practitioners, community groups and nurseries in the area. This will culminate in performances of Hibernate for invited local audience groups on Friday 16 December and public performances on Saturday 17 December.

Hibernate is a puppet theatre piece developed through Cumbernauld Theatre’s under 5’s commission programme in 2021 for ages 3-5 and their families. It tells the story of an old mouse who attempts to create the perfect place to snuggle down for a long winter’s nap. Inside their humble home, they’re ready to hide away from the world outside… until a rambunctious squirrel absent-mindedly stumbles into their serene sleeping abode. This process of readapting the work from a studio theatre space with full technical capabilities to work just as well in a hall or community space will mean the work can tour further and reach so many more families in Scotland.

To support families to feel confident to attend the public performances in mid December at WHALE we’ve been working closely with our partners to develop a series of meet the puppets storytelling sessions, open rehearsal days for local groups and families to interact with the set, cast and find out more about the performance – removing some of the mystery, but hopefully none of the magic of the performances by creating a space that is more familiar and characters that are recognisable.

Throughout November, WHALE Arts and Clovenstone Community Centre have hosted workshops from Tortoise in a Nutshell’s artists for their family and early years groups, whilst at Wester Hailes Library pop-up storytelling sessions were delivered for local families using the puppet characters from the show.

Greg Macvean - Cumbernauld Theatre

Puppet Animation Scotland and WHALE Arts are also supporting invited performances for local nurseries and groups including Captivate partner Clovenstone Community Centre’s family club and groups including children and parents who currently attend sessions with The Welcoming, a new Scots charity based in Gorgie who work across Edinburgh.

During November, the artists have delivered free sessions to over 70 participants including an open storytelling session for early years children and parents at WHALE Arts, puppet making at the WHALE SmARTies group and Clovenstone Family Club and Storytelling mornings at Wester Hailes Library.

Hibernate Open Rehearsal Sessions

There’s plenty more still to come if you’ve missed these opportunities  – as Wester Hailes Library hosts our first open rehearsal day later this week – for families to meet the cast and characters of the show – and we have a chance for professional creatives to see the company in rehearsal, talk to Puppet Animation Scotland and find out more about the adaption process for family work from studio piece to community touring performance. Full details are below:

Friday 2 December at Wester Hailes Library

Free to attend but advance booking required – Contact Diane.

11am-12noon: A behind the scenes session for children age 2-5 and their families. An opportunity especially for young audiences who might benefit from meeting the performers and puppets before attending a full performance in December.

1.30-3pm: An open rehearsal for professional creatives working with or interested in visual theatre and puppetry. Watch a run of the show, observe a notes session, and participate in a Q&A with the creative team.

Please note the public performances of Hibernate at WHALE Arts on 17 December are now sold out. Contact WHALE Arts to be added to a waiting list – find out more here.

Thanks to our Captivate Edinburgh West partners: Wester Hailes Library, WHALE, Clovenstone Community Centre, Edinburgh City Council, Tortoise in a Nutshell and participating artists.

Captivate is our new engagement and participation programme, which will see us work with communities in the Outer Hebrides, North Lanarkshire and Edinburgh West for a period of three to five years to deliver a bespoke programme of productions, screenings, workshops and co-creation projects in the areas of puppetry, animation and visual theatre. 

The aim of the programme is to enrich the lives of people from diverse backgrounds across Scotland, through opportunities to see and participate in puppetry, animation and visual theatre in their everyday lives, and to take pride in their local communities as places where creativity is thriving.

Read more about Captivate.

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