Culture

Potato Needs A Bath: Bringing Theatre into Schools

Nursery and Primary 1 classes in Orkney are experiencing the acclaimed children’s theatre production Potato Needs a Bath in an exciting new way at school.

P1 pupils at Dounby Primary School enjoying a preview performance of Potato Needs a Bath.

Presented by award-winning Scottish theatre-maker Shona Reppe, Potato Needs a Bath is a magical, lighthearted production for younger children about fruit and vegetables, originally created by Shona Reppe and Andy Manley.

After watching a newly created film based on the original theatre show, children will enjoy a livestream party in their classroom with the show’s protagonists, Maris Piper (performed by Shona Reppe) and Potato!

Children will prepare for the party at school, with the assistance of an online ‘Potato Portal’, making decorations and practising party games with their teachers. On the day of the party Maris Piper and Potato will be streamed live into the classroom to join in the fun complete with party hats, music and dancing.

Commenting on the online theatre event Emma Gee, Orkney Islands Council Arts Development Officer said:

“This comes at a brilliant time as we lead up to Christmas in what has been a difficult year for schools. Our teachers, children and families are giving new things a go and making it work.

“Orkney is an amazing place for recognising just how important culture, creativity and the arts are to our wellbeing and sense of who we are as individuals and in our communities together.

“We’re delighted to support the development of new ways of working and bringing performances to children in schools across Orkney.”

Shona Reppe in Potato Need a Bath photo by Douglas McBride

Potato Needs a Bath from Theatre in Schools Scotland is supported by Orkney Islands Council in bringing the interactive digital experience to Nursery & P1 classes in Orkney schools from 23 November – 4 December 2020

Anna Derricourt, Theatre in Schools Scotland Producer said:

“We have brought productions to Orkney schools every year since we started in 2016 and are excited to be working together in a new way.  We are delighted to be able to ‘visit’ some of our usual schools but also meet some new ones that we have never quite managed to reach.

“Touring to Orkney is always a highlight for our performing companies and we are receiving the same welcome and collaborative approach we have come to expect.

“Orkney Arts Development are joining us on this journey to discover how this can work and we are grateful for their support.”

Funding partners for Potato Needs a Bath are Orkney Islands Council and the PLACE Programme, a partnership between the Scottish Government – through Creative Scotland – the City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh Festivals.

The innovative interactive experience for schools, using both film and livestream, is part of Theatre in Schools Scotland’s touring programme.

Since 2016 Theatre in Schools Scotland has toured eight live theatre productions to primary schools in Orkney. This year, Orkney Islands Council Arts Development team, Theatre in Schools Scotland and Dounby Primary School have worked closely together, striving to bring an element of live performance into classrooms in the lead up to Christmas. Together they are testing and exploring ways of working with technology in schools and looking at creating a unique sense of “liveness” in classrooms using digital channels.

The new interactive digital version of Potato Needs a Bath has been specially reimagined by Scottish theatre-maker Shona Reppe working from her spare room with two iphones.  The party will be live streamed into classrooms across Orkney Education Department’s digital platforms from November 23rd to 4 December 2020. The performances are supported by a Potato web portal which includes party games, decorations and a party playlist.

Theatre in Schools Scotland’s autumn programme also includes the world premiere film adaptation of Catherine Wheels’ award-winning theatre show White which is available for schools to book in December 2020 and is suitable for P1 & P2.

White: The Film

White is a playful, highly visual show for younger children and a perfect treat to enjoy together this Christmas. White: The Film has been crafted as a new experience in itself, by the creative team behind the original stage show. Gill Robertson directs, with creators Andy Manley (Black Beauty, Stick By Me) and Ian Cameron (The Voice Thief, The Secret Garden) playing beloved characters Cotton and Wrinkle. The film was created in October 2020, by D Fie Foe Productions in a COVID-secure closed set in East Lothian.

For more information about booking White: The Film schools should visit:

www.catherinewheels.co.uk/whitefilm or email helen@catherinewheels.co.uk.

Produced by the National Theatre of Scotland and Imaginate,Theatre in Schools Scotland creates opportunities for schools to host live theatre and dance performances in their school halls and classrooms.

From 2016 – 2020, Theatre in Schools Scotland toured 20 shows bringing 752 performances to over 66,000 children from Orkney to Stranraer, reaching 24% of Scottish primary schools.  While it is not possible to bring live performances into schools, Theatre in Schools Scotland is engaging with teachers and performing companies, developing and testing new ways of presenting performances for schools.

Theatre in Schools Scotland was initially developed as a three year pilot project by Imaginate and National Theatre of Scotland in partnership with Catherine Wheels Theatre Company, Starcatchers and Visible Fictions.

You can view an archived story about the Theatre in Schools project here: Catherine Wheels Turns on the Comedy

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