Under the inky sky were random dots of light, roughly outlining a pathway, like a nocturnal airstrip drawn by a drunk. Closer inspection revealed the random dots to be tea lights encased in brown paper bags with stars cut out. The flickering dots drew you further into the darkness, round corners, through bushes, under trees…
In the distance more tea lights, apparently floating in mid-air, pulled you under the branches where they clung, towards the tennis pavilion, where vague Dickensian urchins scampered in and out of doorways in their pyjamas!
This spooky dreamscape, believe it or not, was the setting for an impish night of entertainment aimed at children; yet like all the best entertainment, it really had universal appeal. The big people were happy to sit under the stars at candlelit tables, sipping hot chocolate and nibbling cookies, caught up in a scene they now began to think they’d imagined themselves.
I was fortunate enough to be invited along to try and capture, somehow, the magic.
The dusky storytelling itself – for this is why we were here – took place beneath the pavilion’s roof, in a park in the middle of Birmingham. It was conjured by Moseley based Little Mo, a company younger than its target audience – so new in fact is Little Mo it doesn’t yet have a website.
But a website is surely on its way, for Little Mo will grow up very quickly, I predict. The night was a big hit, not just with the under 8s who, cosseted on a huge raft of floor-cushions, were transported into Neverlands by storytelling guru Carole Graham. They clung more tightly to her words than they did to their own teddies, like snails hanging onto the tail of a whale.
Big people were equally captivated by the scene, allowing their offspring to flit between the tiny naked flames outside, or to dance beneath stars, running their free range legs into the ground just before bedtime.
I’ve no idea what else Little Mo has in store for its pyjama-clad groupies. An evening cinema, perhaps, with fire breathers and acrobats gamboling down the aisles during the interval? Midnight magicians, a visit to the man on the moon..?
The possibilities are endless. And if, like me, you’re looking for some seemingly unscripted experiences (for your children’s entertainment, of course!) then follow the tea lights that lead to Little Mo. It’s magical!
Storyteller Carole Graham is based in Hereford:
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