The Ancient Guilt of Tale Tellers are recruiting and Arno Bryant may have made the grade.
Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers is an interactive theatre experience for children between seven and 10, inspired by the words of the renowned children’s author, Mr Roald Dahl.
Created by Rob Wilson and Polly Conway, the performance is an ‘adult free zone’. The theatrical duo play book inspectors testing their audience’s imaginations before leading the children away from their guardians into an adjacent room where they reveal that they are on a much more important mission, one that threatens imagination itself.
Unfortunately, in exchange for an exemption from the strict ‘no adults allowed’ ruling, I am sworn to secrecy on the nature of this mission, but through the use of beautiful props, charming illusions, silly activities and a passion for storytelling Rob and Polly have their audience hanging on, and laughing at, their every word.
A glorious side-effect of this adult-proofed performance is the fact that parents are left listening to their children’s wild screams of laughter without having a clue what’s going on in the room next door.
The performance chimes with what Polly and Rob say they love most about Roald Dahl – namely his empathise on empowering children. “The show relies on the kids, it’s their brilliant minds that save them,” Rob explains.
When the performance concludes, the children are trained to report back that they have done nothing but “boring stuff,” much to their parents’ bemused frustration. “We don’t let parents in to keep it naughty and anarchic and make the performance feel special. We’ve had children go weeks without telling anyone what went on,” Polly laughs.
As I watch the group of children, brought up in an age of ipads and video games, reciting their favourite lines of Dahl’s novels it is obvious that the children’s author has an enduring power to inspire. Between myself, Rob and Polly and their audience, the room contained three generations empowered and enthralled by Dahl’s words, both gibberish and otherwise.
2016 marked 100 years since Roald Dahl’s birth and 52 years since the publication of Charlie and Chocolate Factory but his popularity seems as stong as ever. As Rob states: “People my age are having children and want to give these stories to them and their kids are loving it!”
Images by lieselbockl.co.uk; @LieselBockl