Jack & The Beanstalk
Storytelling with shadow theatre for ages 4-11

“KS2 returned to their classes buzzing with enthusiasm for storytelling themselves!”

St Andrews Primary School, Plymouth


Does Jack just have his head in the clouds when he dares to scale the beanstalk?  Is his belief in the mysterious man he meets the result of fevered hunger and despair or will the three little beans he gives him really change his fortune?

This is a favourite story of Jacolly’s ~ with its brave little hero, fearsome choices, a wicked giant, magic, adventure and a happy ending (well, except, of course, for the giant!) ~ and our play of itwas our greatest early success, touring extensively around Britain and across Canada.  Now we have been drawn back to the story again to create an entirely new telling of the tale:  illustrated with shadow theatre, puppetry, acting and good dose of audience involvement.  This may not be Jack & the Beanstalk quite as you know it ~ the giant may be a disgusting bully but he does like to dance; and the hen and harp are longing for a chance to escape ~ but then every good telling of a traditional tale is different, isn’t it!?

The performance lends well to combining with a session of exploring storytelling ideas:  spurring the audience to imagine different directions the story could take to go on to create stories of their own.  Or it could be followed by a workshop ~ a chance to learn basic shadow puppetry skills to use to make a show yourself.


For: ages 4-11 (though ideally not all ages together) • Audience size: max 120 (but up to 200 if performance on raised stage) • Duration: about 25 mins. • Follow-up brainstorming / puppet demo: 5-30 mins. • Min performance area: 5m deep x 5m wide (& 1m x 1m behind audience for lighting stand) • Sole use of performance area during performance, preparation (min. 50 mins.) & dismantling (min. 40 mins.) • Well-darkened auditorium essential • Help may be needed carrying equipment when steps involved.

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Notes provided packed with ideas for developing themes from the performance in class, including:~

Recognising themes (there is a raft of them!)
Exploring “What if” storylines in creative writing & performing
Comprehension: speaking & listening
Expressing feelings