So, if I were to ask a parent, grandparent, teacher, or child to name a popular children’s book, chances are, they would say ‘The Gruffalo’ and then immediately quote a line from this well-loved modern classic! Written by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, this memorable tale has been brought to life by Tall Stories and made accessible to all during these tricky times via live stream.
I must admit, although I feel like as a family, we have adapted well do socially distanced life, I hadn’t even contemplated watching a live stream at home until now. We have been able to experience all the excitement and build up of going to the theatre, all from the comfort and safety of our own home!
Prior to the performance, we were able to download a programme of activities and instructions to get us in the mood; colour and make our own VIP ticket, remind ourselves of the story using the wordsearch and create our own ‘at home theatre experience’ by making sure we had plenty of snacks and drinks, curtains closed and lights down low!
The joining instructions are clear to follow and you can either participate via a laptop (enabling you to join in the interactive chat) or via browser on a smart tv. Joining in plenty of time is advised (15 mins before) to ensure that you can connect without a problem and that you have completed all the usual pre-performance checks (sending little ones to the loo!), just as you would when in a theatre to make sure no one misses out (we had to explain to our 5 year old there was no ‘press pause’ option despite this being something we were watching on the screen at home!).
Rather exciting to see was an introduction from Julia Donaldson herself, even our 10-year-old focused in at this stage having grown up with books by Julia and Alex, it was lovely to see how the live stream had been extended a little to make this online performance just a little bit different.
The performance began on time with the audience encouraged to think about answers to several questions that would come up during the performance – there was an option to participate in a ‘live chat’ during the performance (our Smart TV could not quite cope with this but there was clearly plenty of interaction going on and we enjoyed it just the same!).
As the performance was launched, it was interesting to see how Tall Stories had adapted the performance to ensure that the audience at home had an immersive experience, just like we would have done at the theatre…the camera angles changed, split screens were used and there was plenty of ‘audience participation’.
We followed the familiar story of The Gruffalo and were all kept amused by a perfect balance between the direct and well-known lines from the story (the 5-year-old delighted he could join in!) and new twists and songs which added to the experience – we were all still singing ‘G-G-G-Gruffalooooo!’ as the afternoon went on!
Anticipation built as we met the different predators who challenged the mouse and when the Gruffalo appeared, he had all the features you would expect and just enough charm to stop him being totally scary!
We have seen several Tall Stories performances before and our first experience of a live stream show certainly didn’t disappoint…it was brilliant to feel like we had visited the theatre (something we would always do this time of year) from the safety of our home and we all felt like we had the same feeling of a ‘treat’ we get when we go to the theatre.
Well done Tall Stories, this is most certainly something we would love to experience again and next time, we would definitely encourage all our friends to come along and visit the ‘deep, dark, wood’ to experience the fun too!
We hope there are more live streams for you all to join in with in the future!