‘The Ugly duckling’ at The Bikeshed Theatre

I love the theatre and I really want my children to share that passion, so any opportunity we get to go, we leap at. This weekend we went to The Bikeshed Theatre to see Above Bounds Theatre Collective’s take on Hans Christian Anderson’s classic The Ugly Duckling.

“Above Bounds started as an idea on the floor of a corridor. It’s founders Helen Bovey and George Boundy wanted to create performances that were as visually stunning as they were engaging, exciting and entertaining.” (from https://abovebounds.wordpress.com)

img_0366I know that I bang on about the Bikeshed as a theatre space but it really is wonderful. I love the intimacy, I love the coffee, I love the ethos of supporting up-and-coming talent and fledgling companies. And, I love that you are given a Trivial Pursuit playing card to gain entry, instead of a ticket – nice touch.

When the doors opened, Minky and I snuck into the front row and waited for the show to begin.  The stage was adorned with minimal props, a sheet screen for the shadow puppets and a woman with a ukulele.


Helen and George enter in high spirits and immediately engage us with a game of hide and seek, the performance continues in much the same vain, with the actors talking to the audience throughout, asking for input and inviting us into the world of the play.


The cast creatively weaved in and out of character. George was fabulous as the old lady and there were some wonderful touches; George perched on a chair with a paper bird in each hand that were commenting on the action (via Emily, the ukalele player and a microphone) and origami swans attached to a mobile and hand flown overhead.


Above Bounds use shadow puppetry, hand puppets, live music and comedy to tell their story. The production is perfect for preschoolers and early years and is part of the From Devon with Love Festival (a two week festival of theatre supporting emerging Devon based artists).

The Ugly Duckling is family favourite and Above Bounds wound it into a beautiful, thoughtful production exploring the ideas of perception, identity and body image.

After the performance we were all invited to give the company feedback, to play with the shadow puppets and stroke the ugly duckling, it’s a lovely introduction to professional puppetry for the little ones and a lovely thing to do as a family.


Above Bounds are touring it in the summer so keep your eyes peeled!

“The Ugly Duckling & Other Tales is the culmination of a research and development project led by Helen Bovey in collaboration with writer George Boundy and musician Emily Snee. The development is supported using public funding by The National Lottery through Arts Council England, with project partnership from Worboys Productions and The Bike Shed Theatre.’ (from https://abovebounds.wordpress.com)

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