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Mythical Creatures unleashed in Malvern

Published by: G.D. Mills on 22nd May 2013 | View all blogs by G.D. Mills

sorchamudman.jpgIn the recently converted theatre space at Malvern’s Re-con venue, fifty children found themselves transported five thousand miles across the Atlantic to historical Central America. Taking them there was Sorcha Cummins, with her newly formed one-woman TIE performance of The Popol Vuh - ancient Mayan for ‘Book of the People’. The question is, how much diversion and variety can you cram into a forty minute educational show?  Ms. Cummins, who trained in puppetry with internationally acclaimed theatre company The Fetch, seemed determined to find out.

With her wild black hair, patchwork sequinned coat and feathery hat, the eccentric story-telling narrator demanded our attention from the outset. Assisted by a range of ingenious props and painted masks we were introduced to the indigenous people of ancient Guatemala and their fantastical creation myths. The young audience were hypnotized by the range of skilfully manipulated puppets, most of them wonderfully grotesque, including an insect guzzling mud monster, a spindly stick skeleton and a slavering bejewelled dragon. There were shrieks of laughter as the puppets convulsed and jerked to resonant tribal music, and eyes widened at the lifelike movements of the Mayan boy through whose vision several of the myths were told. Even for those too young to understand there was more than enough riotous colour and evocative world music to engage them.

sorcha stickman.jpg

The performance is designed primarily to offer Key Skills learning opportunities for primary school years 3-6, and can be combined with creative tailor-made workshops to extend cross-curricular understanding.   Given the number of children who flocked excitedly around the story hunter to ask questions after the show, I could only conclude that the intention to inform and inspire had been successful. This free début show may have come to an end, but for Storyhunter Theatre the story has only just begun.

Performances are ad hoc and Midlands based. 

Parents and teachers wishing to find out more can visit Sorcha’s website at storyhunter.co.uk

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