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Thought-provoking tale for a younger audience

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: February 14, 2013

  • Above: The king and nightingale with performers Aya and Mark. Below, the king and snow bird

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When a king decides to replace his songbird with a more up-to-the-minute device, it's not long before he starts to wonder what's missing in his life.

Based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Nightingale, Horse and Bamboo Theatre have reworked the classic tale for a modern young audience which they will bring to the Terry O'Toole Theatre in North Hykeham on Saturday, February 16.

In the original tale, the Emperor of China learns that one of the most beautiful things in his empire is the song of the nightingale. But when he is given a bejewelled mechanical bird he loses interest in the real bird.

Director of this production Alison Duddle, who also made the puppets for the show, says: "The king is in many ways like all of us really, in that he wants the most beautiful new things on offer.

"For me you can read it on lots of different levels. On it's simplest level it's about having a friend – another person, other living things you have to have a relationship with.

"There's a lot of exciting things about technology and being part of that world. But a lot of us can forget to just spend time with the people around us.

"Likewise there is something really different about sitting and being told a story. Whether your mum is reading it to you at bedtime or at a theatre and being in that moment with everyone else."

Horse and Bamboo Theatre tell their tales with masks, puppetry and original music.

"There's a variety of different kinds of puppets in this show," says Alison.

"The king is a table top puppet, the nightingale is shown in lots of different sizes – sometimes a tiny puppet, sometimes a big wooden puppet.

"Chris Davies has written the music and he has done a great job of taking the story through a range of emotions.

"People really enjoy the visual aspect of seeing beautiful things come to life. Also music is a really powerful way of telling a story.

"I would want the audience to really enjoy feeling the story come together but also have something to think and talk about after. Something that makes them think about the world perhaps in a different way."

Age guide 4+

Show time: 3pm. Tickets: £5 (Family Ticket £18). Box office: 01522 883311, www.terryotooletheatre.org.uk

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