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The House Where Winter Lives

Stratford Discover Children's Story Centre

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating

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The House Where Winter Lives

Discover, the Children's Storytelling Centre in Stratford, east London, has collaborated with Punchdrunk Enrichment for their winter show for 3-6 year olds.

Running from 29 November until 13 January 2013, The House Where Winter Lives is an interactive storytelling adventure where the venue's basement has been transformed into a magical frozen forest.

This isn't audience and actors separately, as with standard theatre shows. Here the audience becomes part of the story in an immersive experience.

The Storyline
Two forest dwellers invite the audience to join them in a warm and welcoming cottage, as they prepare for winter; but unfortunately they've mislaid a very important key. Audiences are asked to wrap up warm and take a journey through a secret forest to discover the clues to find the missing key.

Two Versions of One Show
There are two different types of performances of The House Where Winter Lives: family performances for ages 3 to 6 year olds and school performances aimed at up to Year 2 (6 and 7 year olds).

  • Creative Team

  • Original idea: Peter Higgin
  • Created and written by Peter Higgin, Matthew Blake and Fran Moulds
  • Creative Direction: Peter Higgin
  • Designers: George Ellison and Sean Turner
  • Performers/Creators: Matthew Blake and Fran Moulds
  • Sound and Graphic Design: Stephen Dobbie

My Review

Children can play in the Story Centre (which is amazing) before the performance which is a great idea as they arrive for the theater must less over-excited.

There are only two actors, Mr and Mrs Winter, and the audience get invited into their cottage. We congregated in the kitchen with the children seated around the kitchen table and the adults sitting on the kitchen counter around the room.

We sang songs and the children helped to make some gingerbread men and the oven timer was set for one hour yet Mr Winter's tummy was rumbling so they started looking for something else to eat in the kitchen. This was the point when Mrs Winter realised she had lost the key to the larder with their winter store of food. (It would have been good to explain to the kids what a larder is as my six year old daughter didn't know when I asked her after the show. Still, it didn't stop her enjoyment.)

As they tried to remember where the key might be a wall slid away and there was access to a winter wonderland outside. The kids put on hats and scarves and they started exploring. We searched inside tiny doors near where a badger was hibernating then a secret passageway appeared and the audience built a snowman which came to life and told a story.

A key was found and we gained access to the larder with a wish from the audience. It wouldn't have worked without that, I'm sure.

This is nothing like traditional theatre or the winter season of pantomimes but it is fabulous immersive theatre for families with a small audience (around 20 people) for each performance.

You will be picking 'snow' off of you for many days but each time you spot it you'll smile.

Dates: 29 November 2012 – 13 January 2013

Address: Discover Children’s Story Centre, 383-387 High Street, Stratford, London E15 4QZ

Transport: Discover is 5 minutes from Stratford's Jubilee Line, Central Line, DLR, Overground, mainline trains and bus stations.

Show Length: Performances are 45 minutes long.

  • Tickets (includes entry to Discover's Story Trail and Story Garden):
  • Adult: £8
  • Child: £6
  • Adult Concession: £7.50
  • Annual Pass Member: Adult/Child £4/£3

Full details of the schedule is online. Booking is strongly recommended as capacity is strictly limited.

About Discover Children's Story Centre
Discover Children's Story Centre is the UK's first story museum for children aged 0-11 years and their families dedicated to generating a love of language, literature and stories.

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