The Central Role of Story

Everyone needs stories in their lives. A Glassful of Giggles, Someone Like Me, Miss Lewellyn-Jones goes to Town, fill the need for these friends of Elaine Forrestal

Recently there have been two good examples of the central role that story plays in the everyday lives of people today.

The first example is the latest triumph of the Spare Parts Puppet Theatre team in turning Tohby Riddle’s picture book, Nobody Owns the Moon, into a stunning theatrical experience. Combining dance, music, live actors and puppetry this adaptation of the book expands and enhances Tohby riddle’s text and makes it accessible to a much wider audience. Sadly the publisher, who knew exactly when the Spare Parts play would open well in advance, has let the book go out of print. What a missed opportunity! With one hundred seats available for each of the twenty three performances in the Fremantle theatre, and Tohby Riddle himself in Western Australia signing books at various venues during the play’s season, most of a print run of 2,300 copies would have been sold in two weeks. And whatever happened to the much publicised print-on-demand facility? Honestly …

The other example of the importance of story is that Hazel Edwards’s classic picture book, There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake has been turned into Hippo,Hippo: The Musical. This book has never been out of print in its thirty six year life-span. And Hazel Edwards, who has lived in the same house for thirty eight years, still occasionally has children knocking on her door asking ‘Is this the house with a hippopotamus on the roof?’

Quite apart from the constant demand for stories by the makers of TV shows, computer games, videos and YouTube, new stories are always needed for the producers of vibrant live theatre. And good story writers are needed to write them.

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