Pocklington Arts Centre to stream Magic Carpet Theatre’s Magic Circus in lockdown

Director Jon Marshall as the Ringmaster, showing his frustration with Steve Collison’s Clown in Magic Carpet Theatre’s Magic Circus

FAMILIES are being given another chance to watch Pocklington Arts Centre’s online streaming of Magic Circus for free, in response to public demand.

The fun family-friendly show, performed by Hull company Magic Carpet Theatre and filmed behind closed doors at PAC last October, premiered to more than 1,000 viewers over Christmastide. Among them were families accessing food banks in the East Riding, who received exclusive early access. 

Now, the production is being streamed for free online once again to keep children entertained during Lockdown 3, with donations invited to PAC’s crowdfunding appeal at: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/magic-carpet-theatre.

PAC director Janet Farmer says: “In the absence of our usual popular live family Christmas show, we were delighted to be able to bring all the fun and excitement of live theatre to younger audiences with our online production, made possible with thanks to a grant of £4,100 from the HEY Smile Foundation’s I am Fund. 

“It’s fantastic that so many people watched the show at home when it premiered the first time round, and as we’re now in lockdown once again, we wanted to give everyone another chance to enjoy Magic Circus.”

Magic Circus is one of two Magic Carpet Theatre theatre shows filmed live at PAC by Pocklington production company Digifish for audiences to watch online. The second, The Wizard Of Castle Magic, will be available to stream from February half-term.

In addition, online workshops are planned as part of a project designed to encourage sustained arts engagement from younger generations during the pandemic and increased attendance at PAC events when the Market Place venue can eventually re-open its doors. 

“As we’re now in lockdown once again, we wanted to give everyone another chance to enjoy Magic Circus,” says Pocklington Arts Centre director Janet Farmer

Magic Carpet Theatre are firm PAC favourites, noted for their circus skills, magic and audience participation, and have staged numerous sold-out events there.

Directed by Jon Marshall with music by Geoff Hardisty and effects by Theatrical Pyrotechnics, Magic Circus is a fast-moving, colourful story that combines magical illusions, comedy, circus skills and puppets.

Performed by Marshall and Steve Collison, it tells the humorous tale of what happens to the ringmaster’s extravaganza plans after the artistes and elephants fail to arrive and everything has to be left in the calamitous hands of the clowns. Disaster!

Inevitably, they make a fantastically messy job of it as Magic Carpet Theatre take traditional circus and variety skills, dust them down and invest them with new life, moulding them into a mystifying hour-long play with a circus theme.

Second show The Wizard Of Castle Magic, based on the traditional tale of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, is also aimed at children aged three to 11 and their families with a script replete with comedy, illusion and special theatrical effects. 

Magic Circus can be viewed on Pocklington Arts Centre’s YouTube channel from 2.30pm today (7/1/2021) for 14 days. The Wizard Of Castle Magic will be streamed via YouTube from 2.30pm on Thursday, February 18. 

Watch online for free at: https://youtu.be/CNrUixTMWdQ.

Pocklington Arts Centre boosted by £4,100 funding for autumn digital theatre project

“The project will see both Pocklington Arts Centre and its audience members, new and old, go on a journey as it evolves the way it presents its artistic output,” says venue manager Janet Farmer

POCKLINGTON Arts Centre has been awarded a £4,100 grant from East Yorkshire’s I Am Fund for a digital theatre project this autumn.

The Market Place venue, with its track record for presenting high-quality children’s theatre and workshops, will work with Hull company Magic Carpet Theatre and DigiFish Film & Animation to stage two online family theatre productions with accompanying online workshops and social-media content.

Magic Carpet specialise in circus skills, magic and audience participation and have a long-standing relationship with Pocklington Arts Centre, having staged numerous sold-out events there.

The new productions and follow-up content will be made free with optional donations, removing any economic barriers from children and families accessing the resources.

Venue director Janet Farmer says: “The funding will enable us to have an enhanced online presence for families and young people, open up new programming opportunities for Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) and will allow us to support venue staff, alongside regional artists and creative partners, in these difficult times.

“The project will see both PAC and its audience members, new and old, go on a journey as it evolves the way it presents its artistic output. The long-term aim is to see sustained arts engagement, during the closure/Covid period and beyond, from younger generations and increased attendance at PAC events.

“We are extremely grateful to the I Am Fund and Smile Foundation for their support on this application and we look forward to delivering a highly successful programme of events.”

The I Am Fund was established with funding from the will of the late Audrey Mosey, an East Riding resident with a passion for the arts. The fund is part of the Hull and East Yorkshire Smile Foundation, which, alongside the fund committee that includes Pocklington resident Andrew Bowden, aims to support performers and inspire future stars, while also helping East Riding residents to benefit from what the performing arts have to offer.

Andrew Barber, chief executive officer of Smile, says: “This is one of many grants that are being invested into the arts community across East Yorkshire. We recognise the value that venues such as the Pocklington Arts Centre have to play in supporting and inspiring young people to connect, participate and perform in the arts.

“The committee, led by friends of Audrey, with the support of Smile, look forward to hearing how the funding makes a difference in Pocklington and surrounding areas.”