BADAPPLE Theatre Company return to live performances this evening with Tales From The Great Wood at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York.
“This is a new short play for children and grandparents – and everyone else – to enjoy together that can be performed indoor or outdoor,” says writer-director Kate Bramley, founder of the Green Hammerton theatre-on-your-doorstep proponents, as she introduces her interactive storytelling eco-adventure.
“Listen! Can you hear the whispering in the trees? The Great Wood is full of stories. It’s a hot summer’s day, perfect for basking in the sun, but instead of resting, Hetty the hare is investigating because someone is missing.
“As she unravels a tall tale that stretches from end to end of The Great Wood, Hetty realises that every creature – no matter how small – can have a huge part to play in the world of the forest.”
One of those “creatures” is the exotic Hoopoe bird from Africa that is blown off course en route to Spain and ends up in Bramley’s British woodland story.
“Although I write daft stuff, the facts behind it are always real,” says Kate. “So this bird with a long beak and a liking for ants really does occasionally turn up in Britain, sometimes Scotland, or the south west of England…and now in The Great Wood!”
Starring York actor Richard Kay, Danny Mellor and a host of puppets made by designer Catherine Dawn, this show for ages five to 95 will be performed at the Covid-secure JoRo tonight at 7.30pm and tomorrow at 11am, 2.30pm and 7.30pm.
“We’ll also be playing Skipsea Village Hall on Sunday afternoon, and we’re looking to do some outdoor performances too, such as at stately homes, with Annabelle Polito working on that for us at the moment,” says Kate.
“I’m trying to create a show that is ‘omni-everything’: suitable for outdoor spaces and for indoors, so it’s not only a play for all seasons, but a play for all eventualities.”
In the spirit of an eco-adventure, Badapple Theatre’s have recycled the set and puppets for use in Tales From The Great Wood. “At a time when all businesses great and small are recognising the need to look at how live events come about, what we want to do is threefold: to carry on telling stories; to carry on spreading joy and to make sure we are always eco-conscious,” says Kate.
“I’ve had 22 years with Badapple since founding the company to bring theatre to your doorstep, and I’ve been thinking, ‘what would I like to do for the next 22 years’?
“I’d now be happy to split my time between telling stories and digging and growing things in the garden.”
In addition to rehearsing Tales From The Great Wood at Hunsingore Village Hall, Badapple have held a puppet day with Haxby primary schoolchildren, combining puppets and poems. “They were just such a beautiful set of children, who were so excited to get involved, making puppets and then working with all the puppets we’d made,” says Kate.
“It was interesting to see just how instinctive it was for them to adopt puppet characters. Right now, they should just be having fun, playing with theatre skills and enjoying storytelling.”
Badapple Theatre Company in Tales From The Great Wood, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, July 2, 7.30pm, and July 3, 11am, 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Box office: 01904 501935. Also: Skipsea Village Hall, July 4, 2pm; tickets, 01262 469714 or 01262 468640.