Head2Head Sensory Theatre – Piccolo Pinocchio!

Head2Head Sensory Theatre – Piccolo Pinocchio!

calendarJuly 14 2021

Sara from Head2head Sensory Theatre tells WeCanAccess about their latest interactive and inclusive performance, Piccolo Pinocchio! Learn who’s in it and how to join in!

Head2Head Sensory Theatre

Hello, I’m Sara, Artistic Director for Head2Head Sensory Theatre, back with another blog!  We create accessible theatre for young people with special and additional needs (SEND), from curriculum-based installations, to our take on well-known stories, to traditional family pantomimes.  Sadly we are still unable to tour our latest holiday production, Piccolo Pinocchio, due to Covid-19, but I’m pleased to say we made a film.  In addition, we were joined by Lauren, a young actor with SEND, who worked alongside us in her first professional role.

Zooming ahead!

This year, we were a little more prepared for the way forward with our holiday production.  Having already filmed Come Trot to Camelot and our Christmas pantomime, Cinderella, in 2020 we were ahead of the game!  With introducing live Zoom workshops for schools and families to accompany our pantomime, it was decided to add these to our new show, Piccolo Pinocchio, too.  Schools who have taken part so far have enjoyed the combination:

“Classes really got into the spirit and were cheering at the end. Thank you so much!”

Recruiting an actor with SEND

As we usually work alongside a young actor-volunteer with SEND on our tours, we didn’t want to miss out on the experience again this year.  This time, though, we decided to look for someone to play a professional role.  Working in conjunction with the Orpheus Centre based in Godstone, Surrey, we Zoom-auditioned loads of young actors with SEND for the role of J Crick the Cricket.  They were all so brilliant, so it was hard to make a choice!  However, we were delighted to offer the role to Lauren Masser.

Image shows Lauren Masser as J Crick the Cricket
Lauren Masser as J Crick the Cricket

All our rehearsals with Lauren were via Zoom or by film: she learned the closing dance number purely by watching a filmed demonstration – brilliant!  During her day filming on set, we had to work at quite a pace to get everything covered and Lauren took it all in her stride. 

Lauren has a fantastic approach to her work, she commented, “I like how I can get lost in a character I’m playing”.  And the hard work put into the dance rehearsals certainly paid off; Lauren said, “I enjoyed the carnival dance because it was so much fun to do and also because I did it with the other actors.”

Lauren dancing the carnival dance with the other cast members from Head2Head Sensory Theatre.
The Carnival Dance

Theatre Superstars!

Lauren was a real star!  And I’m pleased to say we have another star in our film Piccolo Pinocchio, albeit just their voice!  We were very fortunate to have been provided with the vocal skills of Phil “Mister Maker” Gallagher for the role of the whale.

Image shows Phil Gallagher next to a cartoon whale that features a quiff of brown hair, like that sported by Phil.
Phil Gallagher voices the Whale in Piccolo Pinocchio

You can see from above that our artist, Arin Smethurst, has given a little bit of Mister Maker hair-flair to the character of the whale!

“I am so pleased and proud to be a small part of Piccolo Pinocchio.  It is a pleasure to support Head2Head Sensory Theatre and I wish all the team, cast and creatives my very best wishes.  I can’t wait to see the finished film!”  Phil Gallagher (from “Mister Maker”)

You can join in too!

As with previous shows, Piccolo Pinocchio is accompanied by an advance pack.  Here we give a list of bits and bobs to gather together or make (like pizza dough!) before the show, for a truly multi-sensory and interactive experience. There are also widget symbols for the storyline and song lyrics, as well as some arts/crafts and games activities.  You then just grab your props and join in the fun! 

Prefer a treasure-hunt style version?  All you have to do is wait until you reach a moment where you see the pause sign and then you can start the hunt.  There’s even a role to be played at home – the Indigo Elf!  The Elf has their own magic move – the Indigo Flow! 

How to watch

The film is available to buy NOW on a handy USB stick at the lower price of £10 for the 1st 500 copies (includes PP & an advance pack). You will also have access to the Piccolo Pinocchio playlist on our YouTube channel. Amongst the videos, you can learn the Indigo Flow and Carnival dance from Erica, who plays Pinocchio.

There are two purchase options: –

Option 1: Makaton Signing and Captions

Option 2: Makaton Signing, Captions and BSL Translation

If you’re looking for something to do during the (rainy) summer holidays, then Piccolo Pinocchio could be the film for you.  Please visit our What’s On page to find out more

Follow Us!

If you are new to Head2Head Sensory Theatre, then please follow us on social media – Facebook/Twitter/Instagram @h2htheatre – to see what we’re up to.

About Head2Head

Head2Head Sensory Theatre (Charity No 1161873) has been working within the special needs’ community in London and SE England since 2006.  Our patrons are Sally Phillips (actress and writer), Samantha Renke (actress and disability campaigner), Alex Manners (Motivational Speaker) and Jules Robertson (Actor).  In Sally’s own words on accessible theatre for children with disabilities, “The need to dream, hear and tell tales about the world is just as intense.”  

We offer flexible products that are based on interactive, immersive and sensory storytelling set at a pace that will allow participants to enjoy the experience at their own levels.

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