Pound Arts in Corsham is hosting a unique new form of digital theatre this weekend – 14-16 November – with arts organisation Can’t Sit Still helping to connect families to the arts through lockdown.

Specially crafted for the camera, circus-theatre adventure ‘Play-Along Plink and Boo’ brings the joy of theatre to audiences in their own homes, using acrobatics, live music and mountains of toys to explore what happens when people don’t fit into boxes (even if that is the neatest place to put them).

The interactive show is being screened by Pound Arts this weekend (13-15 November), and will then continue its online tour until spring 2021. Aimed at two to seven-year-olds and their families, it’s a special adaptation of a live show which toured the UK in 2018-19.

© Lucas Sinclair, Farelight Productions

Developing an interactive theatre experience to connect with a remote digital audience has required the courage to take some risks, says Can’t Sit Still artistic director Cat Boot. “We had to upend the traditional way of doing things. If a three-year-old isn’t engaged, they will just walk out – which is very easy to do if they’re in their own home!

“So we developed some creative ways for children to interact with the show on a screen, which helps to captivate our audience even though we’re not in the same room.”

The digital show aims to re-engage the sense of occasion you enjoy when you visit the theatre in person. Creative camera work captures the immediacy of live performance, while animation overlays the film, making it accessible to D/deaf and hard of hearing audiences. The company has also created short videos (including some tips on den-building from five-year-old Thea) to watch beforehand demonstrating how to make simple props at home. These can then be used by the audience to participate during the show.

“It’s brilliant to see photos of the children watching the performance – how they respond to props being magically ‘posted’ through the screen and confetti exploding over their heads,” added Cat. “It makes me feel that we’re achieving what we set out to do. Everyone has been stuck inside for so long this year. For some families this has been really difficult, and the home has become a tricky place to navigate. ‘Play-Along Plink and Boo’ is an opportunity to completely re-imagine the living-room, make some positive associations and spend good time together as a family. I think people feel a bit lighter afterwards. Although I’m told there’s quite a lot of hoovering up to do.”

To watch Play-Along Plink and Boo this weekend (13-15 November)
 tickets can be booked via The Pound’s website: https://poundarts.org.uk/event-category/family/. Once booked, you will receive an email with a private link to take you to the streaming platform where you will be able to view ‘Play-Along Plink and Boo’ from 10am on Friday 13 November. The show is available for 72 hours.