Non-profit Woodbury theatre company tackles low arts engagement in rural Devon

PUBLISHED: 17:00 25 September 2018

Boo to a Goose theatre company, based in Woodbury, has marked the end of its summer show The Magic Garden, which received Arts Council funding. Picture: Luke Jeffery

Boo to a Goose theatre company, based in Woodbury, has marked the end of its summer show The Magic Garden, which received Arts Council funding. Picture: Luke Jeffery

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A non-profit Woodbury theatre company making its mission to engage hard-to-reach child audiences has celebrated the close of its 2018 National Lottery-funded flagship summer show.

Boo to a Goose theatre company, based in Woodbury, has marked the end of its summer show The Magic Garden, which received Arts Council funding. Picture: Luke JefferyBoo to a Goose theatre company, based in Woodbury, has marked the end of its summer show The Magic Garden, which received Arts Council funding. Picture: Luke Jeffery

Boo to a Goose theatre company, in Woodbury, is recognised by the Arts Council for playing a positive role in communities and engaging children who might otherwise not go to the theatre at all.

This year they held an interactive summer competition, which aimed to create ‘quality’ moments and encourage bonding between children and parents.

The Arts Council has supported their last three tours, including 2017’s tour of The Magic Garden, which was placed in the National Lottery’s top 10 U.K. funded family attractions.

Boo to a Goose founder, Marie Cassidy, said: “They support us because part of our mission is to bring our shows to rural Devon, where there may be low arts engagement and by performing in libraries and non-theatre venues we know we are reaching many who have not engaged with children’s theatre before.”

Boo to a Goose theatre company, based in Woodbury, has marked the end of its summer show The Magic Garden, which received Arts Council funding. Picture: Luke JefferyBoo to a Goose theatre company, based in Woodbury, has marked the end of its summer show The Magic Garden, which received Arts Council funding. Picture: Luke Jeffery

Children who attended this year’s show each planted a seed in the ‘magic garden’ and were then able to go online, where they could watch them being watered, sing songs and enter a competition.

“Since they were unable to do this on their own, we knew it would create one of those quality moments that children value so much: when parents give their time and attention to them and share in an activity,” said Marie.

Tessa Boswell, aged 4 and 3/4, was the winner and was presented with her prize at Topsham library, on Friday, September 14.

The theatre company also extends its reach by providing shows for children’s parties, in which the company puts on a show lasting an hour followed by face painting and games.

Boo to a Goose theatre company, based in Woodbury, has marked the end of its summer show The Magic Garden, which received Arts Council funding. Picture: Luke JefferyBoo to a Goose theatre company, based in Woodbury, has marked the end of its summer show The Magic Garden, which received Arts Council funding. Picture: Luke Jeffery

Marie said: “People are amazed that we can keep a party of 30 children of mixed ages engaged for a full hour - and that’s why people love what we do - they know we care about the children, they know our DBS is updated annually, they know we have over 25 years experience of working positively with children.”

The company has also received support from Libraries Unlimited, Devon Libraries and The Book Trust, in recognition of its positive work enriching the lives of children and families through theatre.

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