Stories jump out of mouths when Polarbear is involved

Polarbear

Published: Thursday 16th February 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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Steve Camden, AKA Polarbear, is an interactive storyteller. He grew up in Birmingham amongst a culture that revolved around hip-hop and rhymes.

His writing style is heavily influenced by everyday situations, family, society and honest opinions. This led to the development of spoken word shows for children that are entertaining for all ages.

Mouth Open, Story Jump Out is about the moment that started it all, and how one little decision set off a chain reaction that changed his life forever.

Perfect for ages 8-11, the show includes international assassins, secret codes and dog eating boa constrictors. But whilst these creative elements are fun and exciting, there’s a deeper meaning behind them.

“They fill the hole left when a father disappears and a boy discovers a talent for telling tales,” says the entertainer.

At the age of ten, Polarbear’s dad disappeared. This show is a means of imagining what happened to him, with the narrator getting swept away by a host of wild theories and amusing plot lines.

It was at this point in his childhood that the spoken word artist realised he had a knack for writing. This then evolved over the years into performances, eventually collaborating with theatremakers, directors, musicians and designers.

Reflecting Polarbear himself, Mouth Open, Story Jump Out is a fast-paced and fine-tuned performance, yet it leaves wiggle room for plenty of interaction and new ideas.

The writer-performer believes that the more the kids engage with the show, the better the experience will be for everyone.

 

Polarbear’s style is truly interactive:

“It’s a frantic, messy hour together,” he tells us. “As we go, I’m nicking bits from people and using them in the show. It’s like a spoken scrapbook.”

The format is very relaxed and designed more like a classroom or workshop than a traditional theatre show:

“Children and adults sit in a horseshoe, plus I get them up to play characters if they fancy it. Everyone gets involved.”

With stories, jokes and adventures aplenty from a “master maker-upper”, it really is set to be inspiring and enjoyable.

Mouth Open, Story Jump Out is co-commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre and Southbank Centre, two arts organisations that are celebrated for their innovative nature.

You may also recognise the performer’s name, as Polarbear has performed at our city’s Heads Up Festival and Freedom Festival in previous years.

Whilst there’s a definite structure and core to the piece, it is also dependent on the children sharing ideas and being imaginative.

Polarbear presents an opportunity to experiment with words, to run with ideas. It’s an environment where there are no wrong answers or dead-ends, and lots of tangents.

“The more parents that join in, the merrier,” he adds. “I’ve also made a pack for the children, so they can leave with a spark of a story and go on their own adventure.”

You can catch Mouth Open, Story Jump Out at Hull Truck Theatre on Saturday 18 February at 11am and 3pm. Tickets are £12.50 and can be booked by calling 01482 323638, or you can book online.

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Published: Thursday 16th February 2017 by Rich Sutherland

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