Co-writer of Wintry Tales, Rory Mullarkey on the process of creating the show
Wintry Tales was conceived by way of workshops with classes of 7-11-year-olds from Saint Paul’s C of E Primary School, Newcastle, Caedmon Primary School, Gateshead, and Saint Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Sunderland, along with a small group of home-schooled pupils from the Newcastle area.
Becky Morris, the director, and I came up with a series of exercises for generating winter stories with the children, and then she and the excellent team of Live Tales associates and volunteers delivered the workshops, while I sat at the back feeling shy but trying to look important. The children wrote their ideas down in little booklets, which I then took home and spent several days looking through, while laughing very loudly.
I loved every single one of their ideas and have tried to use as many as I could. Of course, not all of them could be included – special shoutout to the warring factions of elemental ninjas in an evil snowy version of Dubai – but out of the six Tales in the finished play, the first five came directly out of ideas by the children, and the final story still uses their ideas, but in a slightly different way. And I’ve tried to sprinkle in as many little details from those hilarious booklets as possible, across the whole piece.
I normally write plays on my own. So, I have to say, I was more than a little nervous, here, at the prospect of working with nearly a hundred co-writers. But I couldn’t have asked for more thoughtful and inspiring collaborators. And so I’d like to thank them, and dedicate this play to them. I hope the show does some small justice to the generosity of their spirits, and to the wild hopefulness of their imaginations.
Rory Mullarkey, co-writer
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