NEWS: Award winning Children’s theatre company creates online programme

Award-winning children’s theatre company Tessa Bide Productions has created an online programme for children and families to keep entertained and to learn new skills in this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, when the lockdown means both school and theatres have been closed. The new online programme will contain a range of activities, from online recordings of the company’s productions to expert workshops on puppetry. 

Artistic Director Tessa Bide is hoping to use the unprecedented circumstances of the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to create innovative online content that will be fun and entertaining for children and families. “Covid 19 has been pretty crushing for the theatre industry. My company has had to cancel two national UK tours and a rehearsal period for a brand new show this year, but we’re determined to keep on with our mission to use theatre as a tool to unite families and inspire children, even during lockdown.” she said. In creating an online programme of work, Tessa seeks to keep her audiences engaged, learn new skills, as well help to pay actors and freelancers who were contracted to work on cancelled projects through any online donations.

Previously Tessa Bide Productions has only made work for live theatre; an award winning children’s theatre company with eight Arts Council England-funded shows under its belt. The most recent project was a sharing of ‘Bob’ at Bristol Old Vic’s Ferment Fortnight, a show for young audiences exploring loss and grief. The company’s shows have toured both nationally and internationally, selling out to audiences in India, Europe, and around the UK. Often partnering with charities, Tessa’s unique work discusses topical issues and uses captivating puppetry, music, and bold scenery to engage children and family alike. Her shows perform in traditional theatre spaces, town halls, and even a retro pop-up caravan for The Anarchist’s Mobile Library, a show on wheels where you can step inside and create your own adventure from stories that have exploded from books.

In a new venture for Tessa, her online programme will contain three months of activities for children and families to keep busy and have fun at home. There will be video recordings of her shows available to watch; her beautiful show Perfect is available online from 25th May to stream for free, or a small donation. A talented storyteller, Tessa will also be having online storytime for families to watch and listen to. 

The content of the online programme will also be a great source for children that are interested in pursuing theatre. Tessa regularly leads workshops for children and adults and is now bringing her expert skills online for everyone to access from home. She will also be chatting every Wednesday to former creative colleagues, from set designers, sound artists, costume makers and puppeteers. Tessa says “We want a really rounded programme that not only includes recordings of shows with high production values, but also live interviews with people from the industry, to inspire those who may consider a career in the arts. We want to use this unprecedented opportunity to remind our audiences just how powerful theatre is, so that we can have an industry to go back to when this is all over.”