Let Upswing read you a bedtime story

Published: Monday 30th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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As part of the Back To Ours festival, Upswing bring their innovative and award-winning circus theatre performance to schools in Hull this week.

Hymers College and Kingswood Academy will have the privilege of hosting two spectacular shows that involve acrobatics, circus, dance and projection animation. We caught up with Matthew Woodford, Upswing Participation Associate, to find out more.

Can you tell us a little bit more about these shows?

We will be bringing our award-winning Bedtime Stories to Hymers College on Saturday 4 and Sunday 5 November.

It is a magical circus and dance show for young children, and an immersive experience for families. As soon as they walk in, kids can tuck themselves into bed and watch the show.

We wanted to focus on the wonder of the bedtime story; that special time of night when a parent or carer and their child connect with each other and go off into an imaginary world before going to sleep.

The performance is not only for the children, it also explores the juggling act that a parent has to struggle with. On the one hand, they are an adult with responsibilities, such as work, but on the other hand, they want to spend some time with their children and use their imaginations.

Meanwhile, we will be presenting Once Upon a Pillow Fight at Kingswood Academy and Archbishop Sentamu Academy. Originally developed for libraries as a one-off commission, we decided to continue performing it because it went down so well with audiences.

Again, it follows a similar theme to Bedtime Stories. The two main characters are supposed to be taking their nap time, but there’s always something more fun to do, isn’t there? I don’t want to spoil anything but it ends with one giant pillow fight that the whole audience can get involved in.

Afterwards, there will be a chance for parents and carers to spend time with their children, telling stories and drawing. It’s a truly shared experience.

How did you come up with the idea for Bedtime Stories and Once Upon a Pillow Fight?

Growing up, Upswing founder Vicki Amedume was given recorded bedtime stories by her parents. Her family believed that it was a really special time for children, but they were quite busy with work. So they recorded the stories for her to listen to.

Whilst developing the show, we worked closely with families to involve them in the process and hear their ideas and thoughts.

It sounds fantastic. So do Upswing regularly create children’s theatre?

We don’t just do shows for families, no. We do them for a range of different community groups.

Last month, we were in Hull for a circus experience for adults with dementia. We love working with the community; it’s an important part of what we do.

The core of Upswing is to use circus in order to tell stories that resonate with our contemporary world. Yes, the tricks are amazing and we have some extremely skilled artists, but the focus is always the story.

It’s about connecting with our audiences and making people think deeper about their own lives. I think this is what sets us apart from other circus theatre companies. We strive for our work to reflect the world that we live in.

To find out more about Upswing and their upcoming Hull shows, please visit their website. 

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Published: Monday 30th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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