Stories transport you to another world. When we tell stories on stage, we work to give our audiences the freedom to join the tale, to meet the characters and embark on the adventure for themselves - but no matter how great the show is, at the end of the day everyone goes home, and the story draws to a close.
We don't think that the story should end there - instead, we want to put our stories into a beautifully illustrated storybook, with the help of South-West based illustrator Charlie Brandon-King. We want to create something you can own and take home, something you can keep and something you can share, so that for our audiences the story doesn't need to end when the lights go down.
Our most recent show, 'According to Arthur...', tells the story of an old man alone in his attic with only the moon for company. One night the moon disappears, leaving Arthur to dig deep into his exciting past to find the courage to reconnect with the outside world. The show received Arts Council Funding, was developed alongside children through a creative residency at White Rock Primary School and will be going to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer. It is this show that we want to see leap off the stage and into the pages of a book.
We all recognise the value that books have in developing a child's literacy and imagination. By publishing our shows as books, we will be providing an additional resource for our audiences - a resource for parents, for teachers, and for every developing reader. It gives them the chance to quite literally take ownership of a story and characters, and take them back into their own imaginations. A copy of 'According to Arthur...' will be the perfect memento of a first theatre experience, a new favourite story to return to each bedtime or an access point into topics of adventure and discovery in the classroom.
By establishing a publishing arm of our company - PaddleBoat Press - and successfully publishing 'According to Arthur...', PaddleBoat Theatre Company will be able to create more books in the future, to delight new audiences and share our stories with those who might not see us in the theatre. Next year, we intend to expand the company's schools work, working with children with profound and multiple learning difficulties and with the deaf community. Storybook copies of our shows would be an invaluable resource for working with these groups - they would open up communication pathways that can be heightened through sensory play and visual aids.
Backing this project will help to create a beautiful, hand illustrated, original, magical storybook - but your support will actually do much more than that. It will enable PaddleBoat's stories to reach new young readers, and inspire new young minds. It will provide teachers with resources to draw links from our performances to the class curriculum. It will ensure that all children, regardless of ability and level of communication, can connect to a story, and appreciate and value their own imaginations. Your support, essentially, helps tell more bedtime stories - and the world can never have enough of those.
Risks and challenges
This will be PaddleBoat's first time producing a book.
We will be setting ourselves up as a publishing company with the guidance of mentors and peers who have published books before. Self-publishing is challenging but we believe it is right for us. By self-publishing we have a huge amount of creative ownership, putting the magic on stage into pages of a book. We can also manage and control any costs.
Our fantastic illustratrator, Charlie Brandon-King (www.charliebrandonking.com), has worked on children's books previously and is aware of time-scales, creating images that complement the text format and layout. We will check in frequently with Charlie (who has seen the show According to Arthur...) to discuss updates.
Although PaddleBoat's scriptwriter, Stuart Cottrell is very experienced in writing plays, this will be the first book he has written. Therefore, we have met with many industry professionals and have really valued feedback. The text has also had the approval of many brutally honest children.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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