Thursday, 24 May 2012

We've asked a Greek to write about the Aesop's Fables.

This Family Storytime Season is Aesop's Fables season. Although we thought that we knew every single story, we realised that we didn't know that much about this weekend's the North Wind and the Sun. For this reason, we had a Greek friend of ours to write this post and tell what the story is all about and who is Aesop anyway.

Being Greek you learn about Aesop before you even learn to speak. The first thing you must remember is that every character in Aesop's stories symbolises an idea or a human attribute. The fox is cunning, the tortoise is steady and determined, the ants are hard-working. Aesop very cleverly used animals instead of people, in order to engage audiences and actually help them learn. He was in fact the first storyteller.

Now, this weekend's story, the North Wind and the Sun, is a story about persuasion and force. This time however, we don't have animals as characters. In the story, the Wind and the Sun fight about who is stronger. Seeing no other way of resolving this problem, they decide to try their power upon a poor traveller. What follows is a hard battle between cold and heat, between force and persuasion. The story gives many opportunities for fun and games, but at the same time it has a very useful message about all the things we can achieve with persuasion. 

Scottish Youth Theatre's storytellers have a unique way to transform stories to a fun and engaging family activity. You know, Aesop's fables were never meant to be in books. Their true purpose was to be performed by a storyteller.     

The North Wind and the Sun, Saturday 26 and Sunday 27 May, 10:30 and 12:30.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Review: Family Storytime - The Mice in Council

By Sophie Charlotte Thomas*

As soon as I arrived at Scottish Youth Theatre, I could feel the energy and excitement bubbling from all the little children outside the Edwin Morgan Studio. I couldn’t help but wonder how their energy would be contained throughout the production.

As soon as the doors swung open and two enthusiastic storytellers burst out welcoming the audience, my previous concern disappeared. Each child was captivated by the actors’ animated voices and faces. As we were led into the studio, which can only be described as a treasure trove of colourful props and costumes, the children were instantly drawn into this imaginary world

The simple story of Mr Higgins, his cat and some mischievous mice who liked swimming in soup (a past time which I suspect will not feature in this year’s Olympic Games) was jam-packed with opportunities for audience participation: catchy songs, little actions, the chance to help the mice solve their problems and even swim in soup alongside their mousey friends.

The experience was fully interactive for every child and the adults were provided with great amusement from some of the hilarious comments made by the children. Like when asked if they knew what a council is, one of the children wittingly replied “East Renfrewshire is a council right?”. The story allowed the children to think and learn without even being aware of it.

The performance itself was exciting, simple and, frankly, full of fun. The actors were full of enthusiasm. Each performer had incredible improvisation skills, reacting and responding to everything the children said. The simplicity of the performance made it accessible to children of all ages.

The story was the perfect length and the children were transported to this imaginary world, which becomes evident from just looking at their faces and listening to their laughter. The children’s imagination was stretched and explored and the imaginary wall usually found in a theatre performance was completely broken down. They even had the chance to play with the amazing collection of props and costumes on the stage. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce children to theatre from a very early age and it is a fun family activity. I just can’t wait to take my baby niece to her very first Family Storytime at Scottish Youth Theatre!

*Sophie is a member of SYT's Young Reviewers group. A group of young people who study theatre and they are passionate about performing arts for children and young people. If you want to take part or to find out more, you can email