Inspiration for the show
A few years ago I read a true story in the paper. A tractor was doing some work in a field and every day one of the cows in the field would wander down and hang out with the tractor. When the work was completed and the tractor stopped coming to the field every day the farmer noticed that the cow was behaving oddly. She was remaining separate from the herd. A vet, after hearing the story about the tractor, told the farmer that the cow was depressed; she was missing her friend.
I was really struck by the humour and sadness in this story and thought it would work well as a story to tell children. I made a scratch performance of it and this has lead to me creating a whole show about animals for children. I wanted to find stories of how animals provide lots of benefits for children: care opportunities, cuddles, socialising, friendship, dealing with illness and death, babies. The bonds that form between children and animals can be really special and unique and the animals can really help the children figure stuff out.
Making the show
To make the show ANIMALS I have been working with 6 year-olds in Perth at three local schools: Fairview, St Ninian’s and Forgandenny. The children have shared stories with me about their relationships with animals, and I have recorded their voices telling the tales. There are stories of naughty sock-eating dogs, runaway cats, “male” guinea pigs having babies, helping with the lambing, and Shetland ponies going on holiday to Shetland. I was really fascinated by the range of stories and how eager the children were to share them with me.
Some of these collected stories will be performed by myself and co-performer in ANIMALS, Hannah Venet. We’ll use the children’s recorded voices, live music, movement and film to bring the stories to life. The children that helped us to make the show will also feature in it in a series of short films. These films will be little surprising vignettes showing the children interacting with various animals.
Here’s another short film made by Geraldine Heaney, featuring two of our Young Collaborators.
Thanks to all those people who have helped to create ANIMALS.
A BIG thank you to the pupils and staff at at Forgandenny, St Ninian’s and Fairview schools who have helped us make the show in the following ways:
- Told us stories about animals
- Recorded those stories to be used in the show
- Taken part in photoshoots
- Made material designs that appear in the films and in the set
- Participated in the films
- Brought in their pets to star in the films
- Talking about accessibility for everyone