Thanks to everyone who left us questions on the feedback cards after coming to see Spirits of the Sea. We had loads of brilliant ones and our Creative Producer, Miranda, has really enjoyed answering some of them on behalf of the rest of the creative team who made the show.
I would like to know where the rubbish collector went Joseph, 11
The rubbish collector is the character who offers to take the bags filled with the villagers fears and nightmares and dispose of them – all for a hefty fee. Because they are so desperate, they agree to pay him and he loads all the sacks onto his cart and takes them away. Unfortunately, he’s a sneaky and lazy man and when pushing the cart gets too much like hard work he tips the sacks into the sea and runs off with the money. We think he is probably the kind of character that goes from town to town ripping people off and so he probably just moved on to the next place to see if he could come up with another scam.
Why did everyone have so many fears and nightmares? Milly, 10
That’s a really good question, Milly! I think everyone has things which worry them and make them anxious and often these things creep into our thoughts and overwhelm us when we’re lying in bed in the middle of the night. When I was your age, I used to get very worried about lessons at school that I wasn’t very good at, like Maths and Design Technology, now I’m older I worry about boring grown up things like paying bills and remembering to do everything at work.
In the story, we learn that the village used to be a happier place when people shared their worries and had time to play, but that as the village had grown greedy, people had worked harder so that they could earn more and buy more. Their worries about not having enough grew bigger and got out of control and they didn’t have time to talk about them any more either, so this is why the village began to have problems. If you’ve ever had a worry that you haven’t been able to talk about, you’ll understand how it can start to feel as though it’s getting bigger and bigger every day.
How do you get a bad dream in a bag? Sophie, 10
Another good question! Spirits of the Sea is set in a story telling world and so the rules of the real world don’t really count;- the sea can be full of demons and people can take their bad dreams and pack them into sacks to get rid of them. The sack represents the person’s way of not dealing with their fears, just bundling it into a sack and tipping it into the sea. The idea is then that this ‘bad dream’ pollutes the sea and creates demons, only by letting it fly freely in the air (like a kite) can you get rid of that nastiness. Flying freely is meant to represent sharing your problems rather than hiding them away.
How did you create the amazing set? Esme, 11
The set is built out of panels, a bit like a very big garden shed and we drape fishing nets over the roof so it feels enclosed. Bek Palmer, our brilliant Designer, spent ages collecting lobster pots, crates, hessian sacks, driftwood and all the little props and objects that you see during the show to dress the space so it looks like a real fisherman’s hut. We also went up to the coast in Northumberland to pick up shells and wood on the beach which Bek made into the little figures of the villages and the demons on the mobile are made of wonderful pieces of seaweed.
Did the show take much practice before performing it? Freya, 10
I’ve been thinking about this story for almost 10 years and have spent lots of time workshopping it in schools. We decided to start developing it into Spirits of the Sea about 2 years ago and spent about 5 weeks over the last year devising and developing the script, set and story and rehearsing it.
Did the musician actually play all those instruments? Ben, 10
Yes, the Musician plays all the instruments you see in the show – whistles, mandolin, accordion and all the percussion too. He also uses loop pedals to build up the sound of the sea and create sound effects like the waves and the seagulls who sound like they’re speaking.
Why did you make the show? Sophie, 10
We made the show because we really liked the story and hoped that it would interest and inspire people who came to see it to think about some of the ideas within it, particularly how you deal with your worries and anxieties, both as an individual and as a community, and also how we have a responsibility to look after each other and our environment.
We also really wanted to create a fully immersive fisherman’s hut that would sound and smell like the sea so that everyone who came in to hear the story would be carried away to another place. That’s the magic of theatre and stories, they can take you somewhere completely new and make you think about the world in a different way.
Why haven’t we got more of this going on? Alison, 45
In the autumn, Theatre Hullabaloo will be opening a new theatre for children and families in Darlington which will offer a brilliant range of performances and creative play opportunities. It will be the only venue of its type north of London and an amazing resource for local families and schools as well as attracting new visitors to Darlington. We hope you’ll come and see us and our Christmas show, Bear & Butterfly, later in the year. You can learn more about the venue and see how the building is developing by visiting our website and following Theatre Hullabaloo on social media.