Archive for the ‘The Play House’ Category

Gavin M
January 29th, 2015

Spring 2015 Tours

January started with a very busy and energetic rehearsal period in preparation for this term’s projects, a great way to burn off all that goose fat consumed over the holidays!

This week, Malcolm has started the tour of Bag of Beans, our Key Stage 1 programme set in the world of the traditional tale of Jack and the Beanstalk. By using their mathematical knowledge the children will be invited to investigate the world of the giant, and by undertaking challenging quests they will unlock his secrets in the hope of finding their way to his treasure.

Also this week Juliet and Kim have begun the tour of The Romans, our Key Stage 2 History programme which explores life in Britain under Roman rule at the time of Queen Boudica’s revolt.

Simon is currently on the last leg of the very popular tour of Tapestry in Secondary schools, colleges and PRUs. The programme explores the implications and consequences of extremist thinking and action. After half-term Simon will be touring, our Early Years Literacy programme, By the Riverbank, which immerses children in a rich fictional world inspired by Wind in the Willows. There will also be public performances of this programme performed at The Birmingham REP in April. More information can be found here.

There is limited availability on all tours this term but we will try to accommodate any booking requests as best we can. Our Summer term primary tours are starting to fill up fast too.

Further information about all the programmes listed above can be found through the ‘Latest Projects’ section on the home page of our website and for Summer term 2015 information please get in touch.
Tel: 0121 265 4425


September 9th, 2014

Autumn 2014

The new school year is well under way and we are all busy preparing the programme for this term.

Malcolm is in rehearsal with Director Pete Wynne-Wilson and actor Julie Baker devising our new programme that marks the centenary of the start of WW1, Foreign Fields. Juliet is working with Arabic speaking actor Nadia Kemp-Sayfi on A Tale to Tell, a version of the Arabian Nights that uses shadow play. Simon is working with our intern Kim on Rainforest Symphony, which they will also be performing in The Door at the Birmingham REP on Saturday 18th September.

There is some very limited availability on Foreign Fields and A Tale to Tell but both are booking up fast so please get in touch if you’d like to book these in school. We’re also working on some exciting plans for December – more news to follow soon.


Gavin M
May 13th, 2014

2014-15 primary tours now available!

We’ve now planned all the Foundation and Primary tours for the next academic year, including some exciting new projects and the return of some old favourites.

The booking forms for next academic year are now available to download (see the link at the bottom of this blog entry).

Some of our most popular tours are making a return, such as our early years programmes Climb Aboard and literacy piece Bag of Beans. There are also some popular programmes that will undergo redevising, these include Out of the Box, A Tale to Tell and Bag of Beans.

New for next year is Foreign Fields which has been created for the centenary of World War 1, Foreign Fields uses the experiences of real people in Birmingham to explore how the war in Europe affected the lives of people at home. We are working with the Archives and Heritage Service at the Library of Birmingham to research the stories of people and places across the city, such as school halls that were requisitioned as hospitals, local families who welcomed Belgian refugees into their homes and children whose lives changed while their fathers and brothers were away at the front.

To see the full list of programmes available and for more information on how to book please follow the link below.

Primary programmes available for 2014-2015.
Click here to book now!



Simon T
January 9th, 2014

Public Performances

As part of the Birmingham Repertory Theatres First Stages programme, The Play House are adapting four popular Language Alive programmes for public performances. First Stages is the ideal way to introduce a new generation to the delights of theatre and features plays especially for nursery and primary school-aged children.

Language Alive! First Stages – Spring/Summer 2014

Saturday 8 March 11.30, 14.00 & 15.30
Age 7 – 11
The Door

It is Florence in 1633 and the great scientist and astronomer Galileo is about to arrive and give a demonstration of his discoveries, when the terrible news comes that he has been arrested as a heretic. Stargazing provides an interactive experience that explains Galileo’s theories of planetary motion to prove to the judge that his theories are not heresy but fact.

Saturday 15 March 11.30, 14.00 & 15.30
Little Red Hen
Age 3 – 6
The Door

Little Red Hen needs to plant her wheat. She asks the other farm animals for help but no-one is willing to give her a hand – are you? An interactive version of the well loved children’s story with puppetry, games and lovely fresh bread.

Saturday 24 May 11.30, 14.00 & 15.30
Roll Up, Roll Up!
Age 3 – 6
The Door

As he works sweeping up at Zelda’s Circus, Bim dreams of performing in the big top, but never gets a chance to walk the tightrope or try on the costumes. As Bim shows you all the strange and wonderful things inside the circus, will he find his special talent and make his dream come true?

Saturday 28 June at 11.30, 14.00 & 15.30
Age 4 – 7
The Door

Come on in to Uncle’s Story Shop, full of lots of exciting objects that he uses to make story bags for his customers. One day, his shop is broken into and everything is stolen. He needs your help to create new stories and in return, will help you create your very own new stories.

For more information on the Language Alive programmes being performed, other exciting projects from The REP and to book tickets please visit the First Stages page here.

First Stages

Gavin M
October 24th, 2013

No Kidding

Our current tour of No Kidding has been receiving some fantastic feedback and our intern Lily wanted to share her experience so far working on the programme:

Well! Bally and Billy have been doing Fun Time now for a good few weeks and they are learning such a lot each day. They are fast becoming the very best friends that ever was, all thanks to the beautifully thoughtful suggestions from children in Years 1 and 2 from primary schools in Birmingham. Since speaking to the children, Bally now realises that Billy is her ‘BFF’ (Best Friend Forever) and for it to stay that way, Bally must ‘pinky-promise’ to be ‘nice’ and ‘kind’ to Billy and NOT put cake in his face or poke him in the eye.

Amongst some wonderfully caring suggestions, the boys and girls have told Bally that being nice and kind means ‘sharing toys’ and buying Billy a ‘talking yo-yo’, ‘biscuits’, ‘a new computer’,’a new guitar’,’a new hat’,’an XBOX 360′ and whatever else he wants for his birthday. Bally went with the new hat… which luckily, Billy loved! Oh, and Bally must always ‘remember her manners’ when talking to Billy and has been advised that she must ‘collaborate’ and ‘persevere’ with her relationship with Billy. Once she googled this, she was very grateful for the suggestion (and very impressed by the intelligent Year 2)! Oh and another thing – if Bally ever, EVER feels angry again, she must sit away from Billy and count to 10 and take 3 deep breaths. However, if she is really, REALLY angry she must count to 20 or even ‘a million sqwillion’ if she thinks she might shout. Following this, she must go to the shop and ‘buy lots of ice-cream’ and share it with Billy before going to the park to play ‘Tig and Tag’, ‘Stuck in the mud’ and ‘Transformers hide and seek’.

Bally and Billy are so grateful for all the help that children in Years 1 and 2 have given them. The gentle and delicate thoughts and ideas that the children have offered in hope to re-establish Bally and Billy’s friendship have been truly heart-warming… and worked! Bally and Billy continue to make more and more friends along the way, (and my juggling is coming on a treat!).

I wonder how many more friends Bally and Billy will make tomorrow…!


No Kidding explores friendship, co-operation and bullying through the eyes of a pair of ‘overgrown children’, Bally and Billy. The programme is current touring schools and has been a popular choice for support around Anti-Bullying. For more information please call 0121 265 4425 or visit

Gavin M
June 6th, 2013

Next year’s primary tours now available!

We’ve now planned all the Foundation and Primary tours for the next academic year, including some exciting new projects and the return of some old favourites.

Last year was the 25th year of Language Alive! tours and the first in our new partnership with the Birmingham Repertory theatre. The booking forms for next academic year are now available to download (see the link at the bottom of this blog entry).

Some of our most popular tours are making a return, such as our early years programmes Roll Up! Roll Up! and numeracy piece Little Red Hen. There are also some popular programmes that will undergo redevising, these include No Kidding, Pharaoh’s Footsteps and Peep.

New for next year is The Little Match Girl which relocates Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story to 19th century Birmingham in a new programme using an engaging mix of puppetry and toy theatre to explore historical issues and moral dilemmas. The Little Match Girl is being developed in partnership with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and links with their main house production of A Christmas Carol. Schools booking The Little Match Girl before 5th July 2013 will be eligible to make group bookings for A Christmas Carol at the Early Bird rate.

To see the full list of programmes available and for more information on how to book please follow the link below.

Primary programmes available for 2013-2014.

Click here to book now!


April 17th, 2013

Full steam ahead

The All Aboard crew are back in the office after 5 weeks touring Gloucestershire and Worcestershire and a week of pleasant public performances! Not only has it been a journey for our characters on board the number 300 Great Britain, it has been quite a journey for us Teacher/actors! We have come a long way, (literally, all the way down the M5 most days!).

We have met some lovely people on our travels so far and have had fantastic feedback. I am looking forward to seeing how the programme is received in Birmingham compared to our former rural participants! Although it is going to be a long tour for us, I cannot imagine us getting bored of it due to the large amount of audience participation it involves. It is different every day. We come away from each performance with a list of great new moments and things that have made us giggle, (Malcolm in a dress will never get old!).

The public performances were very exciting. It was a manic week from performing in libraries and Arts centres to station platforms! Often freezing… but definitely worth it. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to share our work with the wider community. It was interesting to see how it was received by a family audience.

Now it is time for a little touching up of the set and mending costumes before we brave Birmingham like or character Violet! The only thing I’m not looking forward to is eating more strawberries! (Hopefully they will become sweeter as the ‘summer’ progresses)

Anyhow, Full steam ahead!!!
Kirsty McTighe

Gavin M
March 26th, 2013

Nori – Public Performances

Our new early years production Nori has been touring now for several weeks and is getting a great reception wherever it goes.

Nori is a unique collaboration with Korea’s Hanyong Theatre Company exploring how we make friends across different cultures. It’s performed by The Play House teacher/actor Juliet Fry and Sosun Lee from Seoul in Korea. It’s directed by Peter Wynne-Willson with music written by Mary Keith.

It tells the story of Pearl, the last fisherwoman left in Bonnie Cove, who is puzzled by strange things that have been washing up on the beach. Who is the stranger in the sea who wants to make friends? Can she be trusted?

Come to one of our free public performances over Easter to find out:

Date   Time   Venue
Wednesday, 10 April 2013
(Free event)
              11:00                 Blackheath Library
145 High Street
Rowley Regis
West Midlands
B65 0EA
Tel: 0121 559 1884
Friday, 12th April 2013
(Free event)
  14.00   The Hive
Sawmill Walk
The Butts
Saturday, 13 April 2013
(Free event)
  11:00   Oldbury Library
Jack Judge House
10 Halesowen Street
West Midlands
B69 2AJ
Tel: 0121 552 5933


February 19th, 2013

Public performances

Our new production All Aboard goes out on the road to schools in Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Birmingham from Monday 25 February. It explores the effects of the coming of the railways in the mid 19th century, told through the experiences of the different characters.

As well as the schools tour, we’re doing a number of performances in public venues, including some where you can experience the power of steam for yourself:

Sunday 3rd March, 10am, Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway, Toddington
Ticket information: 01242 572573 or

Monday 8th April, 2pm, Artrix, Bromsgrove
Ticket information: 01527 577330 or

Tuesday 9th and Wednesday 10th April, Severn Valley Railway, Kidderminster
Ticket information: 01299 403816 or

Thursday 11th April, 2pm, The Hive, Worcester
Ticket information: 01905 822866 or

December 7th, 2012

Bye Bye River Bank!

After being on tour since October 1st, it is now time to say goodbye to Ranger Ratcliffe and Molly, it has been an adventure and a half! 

The devising/rehearsal process for By the River Bank was very interesting for me. I was curious to see how it would work devising with a director and to see how you can produce a relevant educational programme from a traditional story for Key Stage 1. The story of The Wind in the Willows had its challenges because the story doesn’t present very many obvious issues that we could work with. Then we started talking about the idea of adventure, taking risks and possible danger versus home. This closely linked with the part of the story where ‘Mole’ gets lost in the Wild Wood wherefrom we came up with our character the poor lost soul Molly (get it?), played by yours truly!

We made a conscious decision for this character to not talk. We didn’t establish why or whether she can talk, we just thought it would be a very interesting thing to experiment with. It turns out this decision had a very positive impact on the piece for many reasons. It made Molly quite a vulnerable person which then allowed the children to take her under their wing and look after her, with the result that Molly had the lowest status rather than the children. The thing that surprised me the most was how the children reacted to Molly. Not speaking and being very vulnerable had a very interesting impact on the children and how they participated. They grew very fond of her very quickly which was lovely. The fact that Molly doesn’t speak instigated a lot of discussion amongst them but in the end, most children just accepted it and moved on, which was great. I even got my first ever bit of fan mail! Our other character was Ranger Ratcliffe the insect inspector based on the character ‘Ratty’ and played by the one and only Malcolm Jennings!

Working with a director whilst devising was a new thing to me. It involved a lot of experimenting here and there, talking about random things and lots of cups of tea until we came up with our piece and then rehearsed it lots. It was good having an outside eye when we were rehearsing and someone to give an opinion on how to improve. It was difficult to rehearse without the children so the first time we took it out we were curious to see how it would work! It wouldn’t work as a piece of Theatre without the children since they are main characters in the story! It was different each time we did it and were constantly tweaking things. I found it great how we had the freedom to do that up until the last day.  It has been an excellent two months touring around Birmingham, I need to hibernate now!

I am now an expert in staying still for very long periods of time under piles of leave or alike, not talking (which some people may enjoy!) and pretending to laugh at Malcolm’s jokes!

I will miss Molly but now it is time to start thinking about the next project All Aboard! which I am looking forward to!

Have a merry Christmas!