Art SOAK 2015 Guest Blog: Caroline McDowell, Moving Hands Theatre: Benji in the Jungle

Saturday 21st March 2015, 2.30pm, Yardley Wood Library (Highfield Road, B14 4DU), Ages 3-7.

Research funded by Arts Council England


Moving Hands Theatre have just completed the research and development phase of their latest project, Benji in the Jungle and they can’t wait to share it with us. Find out about their process, the story and what to expect from this exciting new show.

The Research Process

Caroline McDowell (Moving Hands Artistic Director) collaborated with writer Philip Monks, Education officer Fiona King (Birmingham Repertory Theatre) and South African award winning musician Frazer Barry (Tribal Echo).

Using a central child character, Benji and simple puppets Caroline and Fiona presented written ideas from year four children, to early years groups in schools.

The end result was the creation of the story ‘Benji in the Jungle’ a performance exactly pitched to the early years.

 Benji 1

The Story line : Benji in the jungle 

Benjis friends have fabulous super fun pets, in comparison Benjis tortoise is a bit of a bore, so Benji fly’s to the jungle in search of a more interesting animal and discovers that wild, exciting and dangerous cant touch his super smart reliable slow and steady tortoise as the perfect pet.

Listen to some of the fantastic music written and developed for the show.

Benji3 Benji4


Artist Feedback: FIONA KING (Education Officer Birmingham REP) “It was great to collaborate with other artists with different strengths to share and develop ideas.
One of the highlights of the project was the students words being used by musicians in South Africa to create songs for the Nursery and Reception classes. The music was superb and really engaged all the early years classes in the performance. The puppets were made from recycled toys and garden materials, which looked fantastic.”

Four Dwellings School “Wow. What a fantastic performance. The children were highly engaged and involved throughout the whole performance. The story line was easy to follow and the children loved joining in with the characters and songs, very appropriate for early years settings… Thank you!”

Allen’s Croft School “Super use of props, kept the children engaged throughout with the easy to follow story line combined with music. I loved it.”

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