Outdoor Theatre For Families And How We Create It

Creating Outdoor Theatre for Families

How do we create outdoor theatre for families? There are a lot of things you have to think about, especially with a show that tours to lots of different places. A big one is the set, the backbone to any production is the scenery, but, with outdoor theatre, it needs to be able to adapt to its surroundings such as rocky terrain, or a hilly area. On top of all that, you have to create something that can survive the weather. So this job is left in the more than capable hands of Babbling Vagabonds Artistic team Tara and Mark who – in my opinion – have created something magical! 

babbling vagabonds rehearsal
Outdoor Theatre for families – Rehearsal for The Golden Thief

The Rehearsal Process

Now rehearsing the show, whilst it is hard work, is also bundles of fun! Creating children’s theatre is all about playing, so we start each rehearsal by playing a few games, having a laugh and helping unleash our creativity. Each individual character within the story is stripped down to the very basics. How do they walk? How do they talk? How do they move their body? This can be very challenging when most of us play more than one character in the show! The characters need to be completely different and larger than life.

Making sure that our characters are big is very important in an outdoor show, as you never know what will happen when you get into the space. You may have people who can’t see as much as others, you may have someone right next to you, or even behind you! So by creating these comically large and exaggerated characters, you’re ensuring every audience member has a good experience.

Rehearsal with babbling vagabonds
Outdoor Theatre for Families – The Royal Scene of The Golden Thief

Story Development

After we’ve spent some time developing our characters, we then leap right into the story. We take each scene at a time and create some freeze frames! These are little snapshots of what happens in the scene, they help us stay on track and have a good idea of what we need to accomplish by the end of the scene. From there we then start adding more detail, bit by bit, until we can start improvising. We’ll make up lines and do the scenes multiple times until we’re happy we have a decently structured scene.

Rehearsal of A Wild Walk the Golden Thief
Outdoor Theatre for Families – Phil and James rehearsing a song

In front of an Audience

What’s lovely about this show is that there is a lot of freedom to play. The show is highly interactive, so no two shows will be the same. We react to what the audience says and does which is why we don’t script the show too heavily. It’s much more fun to adapt the show to the audience we have (and we hope they find it fun too!) This way, I think everyone that comes to see us, will leave having had a completely unique experience.

The Nest Keeper Scene from A Wild Walk
Outdoor Theatre for Families – The Nest Keeper Scene

That’s it for now, but I hope to see you at one of our venues this summer. Come and say hello, and make sure you stay for a photo after the show!

Writer – Company Actor, Emily Jane Vinnicombe

Newsletter #07

Summer Starts Here!

This month sees the start of our summer tour A Wild Walk – The Golden Thief. I’m sure you’ve heard all about it and some of you may have even booked your tickets. If you’re not organised your tickets I’ll make things easy…click here and know that you are going to enjoy spending time with Babbling Vagabonds this summer.
The Gardener presenting the Kings Golden Apple tree in Babbling Vagabonds production of A Wild Walk
The Gardener and the Golden Apple tree

The King Loves GOLD!

As part of our summer tour of A Wild Walk – The Golden Thief, we want you to get creative. We want you to create your own Royal Rosette and bring it along to the show to catch the eye of the King. He just loves GOLD!

We’ve made a short “How To” Video.  Get ready to be creative, it’s not just the kids that get to have fun…you can too.

Rostte making
A Royal Rosette fit for a King

A Meeting of Minds

The Buxton Pavilion project has now culminated in an exhibition called “A Meeting of Minds”. This has been a collaborative project between Architecture students from Derby University, Buxton Junior School, an architect and engineer from Spaces into Places and Babbling Vagabonds. The exhibition is of drawing and models by the students when they were asked to design a community pavilion for Buxton.
There are hopes that this is the first stepping stone in realising a community pavilion that can be built and used for next years Buxton International Festival…so watch this space for developments.

The Exhibition 6th-25th July
Open Daily 10am-4pm
The Mezzanine Gallery
Cavendish Arcade
SK17 6AL

A meeting of Minds exhibition space
A Meeting of Minds Exhibition at the Cavendish Arcade, Buxton

Fun Finds This Month


Online courses to make our kids smarter, engaged and even more creative

JAM - online courses for Kids

Happy Kids = Happy Parents

Visit Peak District gives us some great ideas to entertain the kids

TED Talks Ideas worth spreading

2800+ talks to stir your curiosity

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