Our "Crazy Bird Tour" of A Bird In Your Ear really got rolling today thanks to a wonderful audience at the village hall in Great Asby, Cumbria! (Pictured right)
Yesterday, Chip and Paul left our office in South Lincolnshire after packing up the van with our new tree design, some lighting and sound equipment, and of course a bundle of puppets and props. Everything managed to fit into the van... just! (See picture, left) Their 4hr journey ended with a delicious and refreshing meal at the Board Inn, Appleby, where they were met by David (who came up on the train from Birmingham). From there we went to our accommodation for the night, a cosy inn called The Cross Keys in Tebay, where we had a fine welcome from owner Tony and his gorgeous German Shepherd Max (who was unfortunately a little camera shy...).
After a filling breakfast, we were off to Great Asby's village hall. Here we unpacked and set-up ready for the production — this step is known as the "get-in". The recent Golden Jubilee celebrations had left some colourful flags and bunting around the room, much of which we chose not to move to add to the festive feel of our production (see the picture to the right). Caretaker Jane met us to help set up our lights and sound, but she had to leave us soon after. Her children stuck around, though, and gave us keen assistance both during the set-up and the show itself!
It wasn't long before people started arriving, and everyone was in the mood for a good time. Just before the show began, a prince came into the auditorium searching for a very important "thingy" that he'd lost — a fact which got the audience giggling. Those giggles soon turned to laughter as the prince grappled with a squirrel puppet and a monkey puppet that just wouldn't stay up in the tree. At last the prince found some willing audience volunteers to look after the cheeky animals while he went backstage to continue his search. Soon afterwards the show began!
Being our first stop, the delightfully enthusiastic Cumbrian audience heard most of the stories from A Bird In Your Ear but also had the first chance to add their tale to the collection. Within seconds of Chip and David inviting ideas, we knew the story was going to be about Santa, a squirrel, and an ostrich. A mum was "volunteered" for the role of the ostrich, but her son didn't want to leave her side. So the ostrich became a two-headed ostrich! The audience told us the ostrich was depressed because she was facing extinction, but the squirrel wanted to help. To cheer up the ostrich, the squirrel invited Santa along. After dressing up as a clown and producing magic rain didn't work, Santa gave the ostrich a present: a toy ostrich with a springing head! This soon raised a smile on both faces of the two-headed ostrich, who was incredibly grateful to the squirrel for caring.
This story will now be taken by David and Chip to Chester, where the audience will hear this before creating a masterpiece of their own! Before we left, though, David went out taking some photos of the local countryside... and discovered just why Great Asby was an apt location to start our tour. It turns out that this small, unassuming village from the Cumbrian countryside is home to the burial site of none other than Lancelot himself! Famous knight of King Arthur's Round Table? Unfortunately the inscription on the burial stone (pictured right) was a little too faded for us to know for sure... but to be performing near such a legend gave us a great sense of pride!
Onwards to Chester and beyond!
24th July 2012