A magical online family musical for young people age 4+. By utilising 'edutainment', entertainment used as a vehicle for social change, The StorytEllas explores complex issues in a creative way. A fusion of animation, live action and song offers a theatrical and wholesome story created by grassroots theatre company.
Who She Productions are?
Since forming in 2015, She Productions has produced 12 original productions, including 6 family musicals. Early success in the latter secured our residency at community led East Riding Theatre, and we have continued to develop their outreach & young people’s work ever since.
In 2019, Arts Council England supported She Productions in producing a Young People's Programme, 4 family musicals throughout the year. The programme sold a total of 68% of tickets, engaged 994 patrons who had never visited East Riding Theatre before and employed 20 artists including 4 on early career placements. As the first production of the Young People's Programme 2020 was due to open, lockdown began, theatres were shut, and will remain closed for the foreseeable future.
She Productions have been working hard over the last 5 months at adapting their programme to ensure we can still inspire, engage and empower young people during this crisis. Creative homeschooling activities and a daily storytelling programme entertained families throughout March and April, whilst a live Zoom performance of our planned Easter show engaged over 2000 viewers, local and international.
The StorytEllas, originally planned as a live summer production at East Riding Theatre after its 2016 success, has now been adapted for screen. Now, more than ever, we believe that using the arts to help young people learn, grow and adapt is crucial. In a world full of darkness, where socialising feels strange and staying home is the 'norm', we want to fill young people's screens with colour, song, vibrance and hope, and introduce them to the power of imagination with The StorytEllas.
“[Live theatre can] develop the emotional & cognitive skills to deal with a complicated world & kick-start conversation about important issues.”- 2019 Encore Tickets study about the impact of theatre on children’s academic performance.
The StorytEllas will be an online series made up of 4 short episodes which tackle a variety of important topics from kindness to mindfulness, diversity to communication. The exciting combination of live action footage and animation adds to the sensory experience of the production. Described by the Yorkshire Times as “an eclectic mix of surprises, slapstick & circus”, The StorytEllas follows the narrative of 3 protagonists, Cindy, Pru & Ruby, who find themselves stuck in a muddled fairy tale with no way out. With the help from some of the locals including our Narrator, The Magical Mindful Pea and a Gingerbread Person, the 3 girls find themselves on a journey of self-discovery, as they navigate their way through the pages.
Filming, recording & rehearsals will be done both remotely and in a COVID-secure environment with all necessary safety measures put into place. Episodes 1 & 2 will be released during October half term this year and Episodes 3 & 4 will be released in January 2021. She Productions' established connections with local primary schools, SEN centres, libraries and theatres will ensure public screenings of the episodes can be offered for families to enjoy the experience together as well as online access to those who are unable to attend a screening.
Who will it engage?
As with all of She Productions' family musicals, The StorytEllas is designed for families to enjoy together. The high-quality songs and production value aim to elevate children's theatre to something that can be enjoyed on an intergenerational level (the adults might even learn something too!) Educational activity packs will be available to download allowing parents/guardians/carers to continue the important conversations brought up throughout the production with their children in a creative and comfortable way.
British Sign Language Interpreted and Audio described versions will be made available as well as embedded captioning to ensure accessibility to all.
At a time where a huge percentage of freelance creatives are out of work, we are thrilled to be able to hire 13 freelancers for this project, 12 of who are based in Hull & East Riding.
The beauty of creating an online series means that it is there forever and can be enjoyed by generation after generation. This is something we have wanted to do as a company since we started writing family musicals and, in a way, lockdown and the inability to host live performances has encouraged us to take the leap. We hope this is just the beginning for our online family musicals.
Over the last few months we have built a fun interactive review page on our website which we will direct all who engage in the project to once they have watched the episodes. Creative evaluations will be done by all involved so that we can continue to monitor our performance as a company. We plan to create a 'behind-the-scenes' documentary and podcast about the making of a production like this as well as gathering videos and photos from rehearsals and filming days.
The StorytEllas has the potential to be the start of a new genre of children's entertainment and we want to make it the best it can possibly be.
Reg Number: 06455490 | Charity Number: 1125856