Photos, Stories and Footage 

INTRO

Once upon a time there used to be dragons. There were witches and princesses and castles and queens. There were goblins and godmothers and dreams. Even something as normal as a turnip, or a porridge pot, could be enchanted. Once upon a time – there used to be magic.

There still is, tonight, if you know how to look.

There are wolves and spiders, and fairies and kings. There is even a very urgent rabbit. But be warned, because when I open this book, it might not all be glitter and gold…

Written by Katie

Milo, the urgent rabbit, welcomes the guests into the studio

Maryam & Milo checking the guest list. A very dedicated rabbit!

Diego, aka Prof. Quasar Twinklenoodle sees candy canes everywhere :)

The charming host.

An engaged audience. Listening to Prof. Quasar Twinklenoodles nonsense.

Storyteller Katie keeps everybody enchanted.

Magic potions....

....and fortune telling are part of our fairy tale decorations.

Donkeyskin

Once upon a time, there was a king who tragically lost his wife. He was inconsolable. He believed he could never love again…until one day, he looked upon his child and saw her incredible resemblance to his queen. Once he had seen it, he couldn’t stop seeing it. Eventually, he demanded that they be married. His daughter was horrified. She begged against it, but he forced an engagement ring onto her finger. Distraught, and with an aching heart, she complied but, (hoping she could escape by requesting the impossible), only if he would bring her three items. 

One, a dress spun from the sun. But, to her surprise, soon came a dress, as golden and fiery as the sun. 

Two, a gown made of the night sky. Again, to her dismay, the king brought forth a garment that shone and glistened like night-time. 

Last, she asked for a cloak made of donkey skin. It came, but when she tried this cloak on, her beauty vanished. The king and his people gasped in disgust, barely able to bring themselves to look at her.  

Frightened as she was, she took this opportunity and hastily packed the sun and night garments and ran away, disguised in ugliness, to a neighbouring kingdom - her father’s ring tight on her trembling finger.   

She took up kitchen work in the castle of this new kingdom but soon realised how badly the workers were treated. She witnessed terrible exploitation by the prince and was pained by the constant torment and misery - she had not realised how awful it was to live on the other side of life. 

Because she always wore the donkey skin to cover her identity, the prince often mercilessly teased her for her ugliness. He was an obnoxiously proud ruler with an addiction to partying. He threw wild parties and sometimes donkey skin would attend these parties, donning her dresses of sun and night, so that she could enjoy an evening as she once knew - rich, and free, and happy.  As a party guest, she was treated with respect and admiration. The prince even became infatuated with her. He planned an extravagant party at which he hoped to propose to this beautiful mystery woman who wore the sun and the night sky.  

Rudely, he commanded donkey skin to make a cake for the celebrations, but in her haste to prepare it, her father’s engagement ring grew greasy and slipped off her finger and into the cake batter.  

That evening, she wore her night sky garment to attend the party, but when the cake was brought out and the guests began to enjoy it, the prince suddenly began to choke! His guards ran to his assistance and as he coughed the ring came tumbling out from his mouth. In fury he bellowed “BRING ME DONKEY SKIN” 

The princess was terribly afraid, but after all that she had been through, a wave of bravery overcame her and she stepped forward and said, "I am donkey skin!" 

The prince laughed in disbelief. 

"I am donkey skin”, she said again, “a princess from your neighbour kingdom!  You have treated me and many others poorly. I would never marry you and nor should anyone else. You throw these parties while your own kingdom is in poverty. Learn your lesson or be cursed forever.'  

With that she stormed from the castle, leaving him laughing behind her…but not for long. 

The princess returned home to her kingdom and defeated her father the king with the wit and skill she had developed as a servant. Then she set eyes on the prince's kingdom, preparing to bring him down and rule the realm as it should be ruled, with justice and kindness. 

Written by Maryam, slightly edited by Katie.  
Pole performance by Maryam.

Jack and the beanstalk

By anyone else’s measure, it would have been a very bad day. There was a cost crisis, and Jack had been forced to part with the beloved family cow, as she and her mother grew more and more desperate. But, when, with an aching heart, she took the cow to market and offered her for sale, everyone laughed in their faces. Finally, exhausted, she accepted the only offer they had, a strange old man who exchanged the cow for a handful of strange old beans. She trudged all the way home, with an empty purse and then her mother hit the roof. She wouldn’t even cook the beans, she threw them out of the window in disgust - and Jack with them. 

It hadn’t been a great success. But Jack was not the sort of person to let a few little mishaps get her down.  

She only shrugged and picked up the watering can.  

Carefully she planted the beans, patted the earth down and watered them in, hungry…but hopeful.  

All anyone could have really expected was a few spindly beanstalks, maybe, at best, a tiny harvest of beans. But Jack was not so easily discouraged - and maybe she was wiser than she seemed because the next morning, there, in the midst of the browning grass and patchy flowers, were two huge beanstalks, as thick as her body, as green as the earth, and as tall as the sky. Taller, in fact, because try as she might, she couldn’t see the top of them. 

They weren’t growing any actual beans though. And for a lot of people, that would have been disappointing. But Jack was not put off by that. She was fascinated by what she might find at the top of them. Her mother was grumbling about the state of the garden. But Jack was ambitious. She had her sights on the sky. 

She wrapped his hands around a stalk, and began to climb. Hand over hand, foot over foot, head over heels. Countless times he crash landed, countless times he brushed himself off, whistled a tune, and tried again. The stalks were slippery. It seemed she fell harder every time. Anyone else would have given up.  

But not Jack. Because she knew, that in order for her to fall harder each time, she must each time, be climbing higher.  

Higher and higher she went, and the more she fell, the more she learned. She tried a different way to climb, a different stalk, a different route, until finally...she made it - right to the top! 

She reached up high (because Jack always knew to reach high) until she felt her fingers close against something smooth and cool.  

There, in her hand, was a beautiful, gleaming golden egg.  

There were some, minor, issues, of course. A possible concern about exactly whose egg it was, and whose castle she had seen through the clouds in the distance, and what the thunderous voice might have been saying that he could hear in the background. But Jack was never one to be daunted by details. 

She took the egg and brought it, glinting triumphantly in the sunlight, home to her incredulous mother. Maybe she’d climb up again tomorrow. After all….nothing ventured….nothing gained. 

Written by Katie  
Pole performance by Penny

Donkeyskin inspired pole flow performance by Maryam.

Maryam being pulled apart by the two kingdoms.

Penny's representation of Jack & the beanstalk.

Acrobatics and spins in very slippery beanstalks.

Big bad wolf

Lock your doors.  

This is not the time to go outside to empty the bins or let the cat out. It’s not the time for a romantic walk in the twilight. You should light your candles and stay inside. The forest is not your place tonight.  

Because tonight is the night of the big bad wolf.  

The moon is ready. She hangs, dazzling, in the dark, like a shimmering pool. Even the stars know to shrink back a little, to glow just a little less brightly tonight. Tonight is not about the stars. Or the planets. Or even the forest.  

Tonight, the wolf makes the sky her playground. She comes out of her lair to dance with the moon. 

Tonight is her night for running and clawing, leaping and spinning in a shambolic ecstasy of joy. For throwing back her head and howling.  

Just because you’re big and bad, it doesn’t mean you haven’t got the moves. And even really scandalous villains have to let their hair down sometimes.  

Besides, those rumours were mostly exaggerated. You can’t believe everything you hear from little pigs and silly little girls in capes who don’t even know what their own grandmother looks like.  

Mostly. They were mostly exaggerated. Anyway, stay out of the way.  

Because this is the wolving hour. And sometimes, it's just really good to be bad. 

Written by Katie  
Hoop performance by Madison 

Creation Myth

In the beginning … there was nothing. No darkness no light no heat no cold. In the nothing awareness of itself emerged catalysing the beginning of everything starting with night and water.  With no stars, no light, no gods, no life… only night and water existed as lovers entwined as one yet separate. As their beloved dance grew over many ages they began to express love with their growing physicality as night oppressed against water, water stirred and waved and salt came from the blissful pleasure and grew into a vast ocean.  

 

As the eons continued there came into being the first inspiration.  Bursting forth, light and sound, darkness and fire, coldness and everything began to spiral and undulate and move throughout the cosmos. Newly formed. Gods and Goddess burst forth from the mind of the all, inspired to create and differentiate all things . Like a great exhalation life began, galaxies were formed and spun wildly in a dance to their own rhythm, the first primordial heart beat. Soon plants were formed within these spiralling masses. Giving rise to the waters and land to the fungi and the plants, to all life which now thrives on many planets in our infinitely expanding exhalation of everything.  

Written by Avi
Hoop performance by Avi

The big bad wolf plays and dances with the moon.

Madison's light-hearted performance came to an end.

Avi's mesmerizing creation myth.

A cosmological spinning and spiralling hoop performance.

The spider princess

The Inca king was over the moon when his daughter, Princess Uru, was born. He gave his baby girl all the love he had and he was looking forward to passing the crown down to her so that she could be a just and honourable queen. So he was eager to provide her with the best education possible. He called for the most respected of scholars to raise a noble and perfect queen. 

But princess Uru had no interest in being all those things that everyone else wanted her to be. She was arrogant and selfish and she refused to study. Even her most senior teacher didn’t know what to do with her anymore. 

Sadly, and all too soon, the girl’s father, and the Inca’s wisest ruler, passed away. The whole kingdom mourned, but at the same time greeted hopefully, their new queen – princess Uru. 

The trouble was that princess Uru didn’t like her new job one bit, because everyone expected her to be polite and responsible all of the time. Ruling bored her after just one week. 

“Ruling is just not my thing. All I want is to have fun at parties, travel the world, wear pretty clothes and eat delicacies. Find someone else to do the rest of it.” She said airily to her advisors one morning.  

“But…your majesty, I’m afraid that’s just not possible. Your people need you. They need you to be their beacon of justice and stability,” the advisors explained. But they were only pouring oil onto the flames. 

The new queen took out a long, nasty looking whip and cracked it above her head. 

“Everyone on your knees, right now!” she shouted furiously. 

The advisors were all too painfully aware of what was to come, a ferocious lashing as a punishment for daring to talk back to the queen herself. But none of them found the courage to disobey her order. 

One by one, they kneeled down, and awaited the first blow of the whip. 

But it never came. 

Uru was just preparing to strike, when suddenly, something stopped her hand in the air. It was as if she were turning to stone. She couldn’t move a muscle. 

“What is happening to me?” she screamed. 

The advisors looked at each other silently. None of them had any idea what was going on.  

Then, out of thin air, a strange witch in a long cloak made of gold appeared above their heads.   

“You are cruel and arrogant,” the witch proclaimed, “You have been given the power to rule kindly and peacefully, but instead you keep humiliating your servants and your people alike. I’m taking away your power, and your beauty too. From now on you will work and toil forever.” 

As soon as the mysterious witch had finished, the whole room filled with odd grey smoke. When it cleared, there was only a tiny spider sitting looking stunned in the centre of the room, a whip lying uselessly beside it. Queen Uru, at least Queen Uru as she was, was nowhere to be seen. The little creature quickly scuttled across the room and hid somewhere in the shadows in the corner. And that is where Queen Uru is hiding to this day, spinning her golden webs, for eternity.    

An old INCA legend (translated by Nika Exnerova)
Aerial hammock performance by Beike

Prof. Quasar Twinklenoodle

If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn't. And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn't be. And what it wouldn't be, it would. You see? 
---- 

When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. 
----
I'm afraid I can't explain myself, sir. Because I am not myself, you see.
----
So many things are possible just as long as you don't know they're impossible.
----
"The final belief is to believe in a fiction, which you know to be a  fiction, there being nothing else. The exquisite truth is to know that it is a fiction and that you believe in it willingly."   

 
with the infinite help of Wallace Stevens, Norton Juster, Miguel de Cervantes, Lewis Carroll and many other writers that will forever challenge our understanding of reality 

Beike as spider princess, keeps spinning her golden web, for eternity.

Leaping and tumbling in her golden aerial hammock.

Happy faces after the show.

OUTRO

As Cinderella discovered a long time ago, all enchantments must draw to a close. The moonlight is fading, the creatures are sleepy, even magic dust must settle eventually.  

And not all spiders are nasty. Not all royalty is deserving. Not all beans are boring. Not all rabbits are on time. All wolves are definitely very bad, (and proud of it), but that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to party. Not all that is ugly is worthless. Not everybody who fails will fall - and just because a universe begins as nothing doesn’t mean it cannot become something.  

Tonight celebrated the extraordinary skills of ordinary people, and we did it in honour of The Rainbow Trust, which weaves its own magic into the lives of young children who are living with serious illness - and supports the people who love them. Not every bean will lead to giants, but every penny you spend to eat cake or drink punch will go to the Rainbow.  

Not all beans are magic. Not all fairies are gentle. Not everybody begins the same way, but everybody is capable of joy.  

Written by Katie

A well-deserved big applause to finalize the first-ever show night.

The studio fully packed with supporting friends.

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