This month Chickenshed’s Performance to Children division swung back into face-to-face action with school performances and workshop’s in Enfield Barnet Haringey and Kensington.

Zoom and online has become such a regular and useful tool but nothing beats face-to-face performance. The learning and joy from both the children and the team has been palpable - lockdown has highlighted that real contact will never be replaced.

Reviewers have said for many years that this is a performance with no edge of the stage. In the light of the pandemic, this phrase has become a shining beacon in our delivery model.

The children, no matter how young, are co-producers of the Tales from the Shed and our affiliated programmes core values. It’s a two-way conversation and is never lead from one fixed point. Cooperative learning is the future of education generally but within the early years it is fundamental and the Tales team are definitely in the vanguard of this. It’s an amazing feeling to have schools individually booking sessions, so a return to a new normal is definitely underway. 

Here is a lovely message we received from one of the venues we visited today…

Tales is an absolute joy for the children, we always have so much fun and the sessions are interactive so the children can join in singing and dancing.

Due to the Covid pandemic and lockdown air of our children are starting nursery without ever experiencing anything but home life so for them to have access to a theatre company like this coming straight to their nursery is a wonderful opportunity for their personal, social and emotional development as well as having fun, learning, and using their imaginations.

Thank you tales for the time and effort you put into these shows. We are so grateful and enjoy them very much. It is the highlight of our week!

As well as this explosion of learning and creativity, the team have been working with the amazing charity SENSE. We’ve already produced one video for them and are just finishing our first fully inclusive Tales TV episode and are excitingly making another video of the brilliant song we wrote especially for the charity when we visited them in their Birmingham centre just before the last lockdown. This is an amazing collaboration and has informed the Tales team In so many ways highlighting even more to the need for inclusive performance for every child and shown that the barriers faced by children will always be challenged and hopefully broken down by the Tales from the Shed team In partnership with brilliant organisations like this

Planning for the Festival of Fun at the end of July is now ramping up and with the help, support and collaboration with renowned children’s author Keilly Swift, these nine days of festival feel like they are going to have real impact in so many different ways.  Here are some wonderful words from Keilly:

The way the Chickenshed team brought my first book, The Tigon and the Liger (a rhyming picture book which celebrates diversity and encourages kids to love the skin they’re in) to life was simply incredible and I couldn’t be more excited to see how they transform the themes of How to Make a Better World into a stage show. Chickenshed do amazing work in inspiring young people to make a positive difference. They understand that children's voices should be heard and that the future is theirs to shape. It’s such a privilege to work with Pete and his team and I’m certain they will take How to Make a Better World from the page to the stage with their usual talent, enthusiasm and energy.

So we are about but never out! These are just a fraction of the ideas, possibilities hopes and dreams, collaborations and aspirations that the Tales and the Shed team are juggling with now.   

There is so much more to come and as the words of the song say ‘we’ve only just begun’.