As World Book Day approaches on Thursday 3 March, New Perspectives Theatre Company's production of The Tiger's Bones & Other Stories by Ted Hughes gears up to visit schools as part of a wider tour. With theatres Nottingham Lakeside Arts and Polka Theatre, Wimbledon, already under its belt, these 'deliciously dark' stories will be popping up in local primary schools as part of an East Midlands Schools tour.
Originally conceived as BBC Schools radio plays, broadcast live into classrooms as an educational resource for teachers in the 1960's, New Perspectives has re-imagined the stories with an energetic ensemble cast of 4 (Heather Dutton, Harry Egan, George Eggay, Ed Thorpe) to fire the imaginations of 7 - 11 years olds today.
Touring schools around World Book Day, the production also coincides with Nottingham's recent announcement of UNESCO City of Literature status this year. Artistic Director, Jack McNamara is passionate about taking the stories back into the classroom, explaining,
'Stumbling across these rarely performed children's plays by Ted Hughes was like metal detecting treasure on a beach. They were everything I wanted children's theatre to be; beautiful, mysterious, funny and quite mad. They also have a deeply moral centre, exploring everything from worker's rights to the dangers of trying to know too much! Ted Hughes understands the intelligence of young audiences and offers them sophisticated themes usually reserved for adults, but with real lightness and invention.'
Hughes is perhaps best known for children's stories including The Iron Man and How The Whale Became. The Tiger's Bones and Other Stories combines three short plays from his Collected Stories for Children, and in each Hughes explores weighty themes characterised in rich language and terrific humour. InThe Coming of the Kings a greedy innkeeper is central in an original take on the nativity; Sean, the Fool, the Devil and the Cats is the former Poet Laureate's allegory to fair working and the treatment of workers, whilst The Tiger's Bones hints of the dangers of technological advancement.