We’re winding down the R&D of Ugly Duckling & Other Tales now, and so it is time to reflect on how far we have come in the last few weeks and what the future holds for the project. Yesterday saw the essential culmination of this phase of development with a performance of our show given at Exmouth Library to a receptive and enthusiastic audience in the children’s section. This was our first opportunity to perform the whole piece as it stands to our target age group and so we were excited, though at least a little nervous to see how it would go.
We had spent much of the development process trying to make sure that the storytelling was clear, that the piece as a whole would engage and resonant with our target age group, and that it would stretch the linguistic and emotional skills of our audience. I’m glad to say that we have at the very least achieved those aims. The audience in Exmouth loved the telling of the story through shadow puppets and a host of imaginative characters on stage. The themes of body image, identity and self-confidence also seemed to resonate well with the young audience and their parents were equally moved by the tragic, rebirth narrative which we highlighted in our show. It was a pleasure to perform there and a perfect way to end this phase of work.
However, this is not the time to sit back and congratulate oneself. Oh no! There is much work still to be done. In the coming days, weeks and months we will be seeking to further refine and interrogate the material we have come up with and think of evermore imaginative ways to engage and interact with our audience. We will the planning he next phase of development and of course booking in performances. And above all else, I think we owe it to ourselves to take a leaf out of the Ugly Duckling’s book and live our own truths, proud of who we are, accepting of our faults, and wholly unprejudiced in our experience of life.