york council 27.10.23

The Firework-Makers Daughter set to spark half-term joy

This October half-term, families in York are being invited to take part in an interactive storytelling adventure featuring magic, Makaton, talking elephants and the timeless message that we all have the power to become the person we dream of being.

The Firework-Maker’s Daughter is set to be staged in Explore venues across the city, throughout the half-term holiday (Monday 30 October – Friday 3 November).

Funded by City of York Council through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), York-based community arts collective Next Door But One have adapted Phillip Pullman’s award-winning children’s book into an interactive adventure for the whole family.

Performed by one actor, the play tells the story of Lila, who dreams of becoming a firework-maker. Audiences will join Lila’s intrepid voyage across lakes and over mountains, as she faces her fears, makes new friends and learns everything she needs to know to achieve her dreams. By the end of the story, children and adults alike will be able to join in with their own ‘firework festival’ using symbols and actions they learn along the way.

Next Door But One have worked with The Snappy Trust and a Makaton tutor to  make the play as accessible and inclusive as possible for a neurodiverse audience and for those with special educational needs.

The performance features Makaton, a communication system which uses signs made with your hands, simple symbols and speech. Additionally, there are a range of resources available to download to help audiences get to grips with the performance, including an audio map of the show, a simple sentence storyline, colouring-in sheets and board games. You can browse these here.

Performances are scheduled as follows:

  • York Explore: Monday 30 October at 3:15pm, Wednesday 1 November at 3:15 pm and Thursday 2 November at 10:30am, 12pm and 3:15pm
  • Clifton Explore: Monday 30 October at 10:30am and 12pm
  • Tang Hall Explore: Wednesday 1 November at 10:30am and 12pm
  • Copmanthorpe Explore: Friday 3 November at 10:30am
  • Huntington Explore: Friday 3 November at 12:30pm
  • Acomb Explore: Friday 3 November at 3pm

Tickets are £3.50 per person, with family tickets for four people on offer for £12.

Matt Harper-Hardcastle, CEO and Artistic Director of Next Door But One, said:

“I’ve always loved Phillip Pullman’s novel; it’s full of adventure and magic, but above all it’s about becoming who you want to be and following your dreams. To see young people and their grown-ups giggling together, to watch a ‘Firework Festival’ created by an entire audience or to hear a child saying ‘I’m a real firework-maker too’ as they leave is everything a director could hope for.

“Working in partnership with Explore means we can take theatre right to people’s doorsteps, in accessible venues they feel familiar with.

“We’ve had so many comments from parents, carers and grandparents telling us that this approach supported them to give their child their first introduction to theatre. We are honoured to be a part of that.”

Councillor Pete Kilbane, Deputy leader of City of York Council and Executive Member for Transport and Economy, said:

“We’re proud to have supported this wonderful project through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

“Making our city a more equal and accessible place is at the heart of our ambitions as a council, and it’s truly inspiring to see this spirit of inclusion reflected in the way Next Door But One have worked hard to produce a spellbindingly creative show that everyone can take part in and enjoy.

“I hope that families all over our city will enjoy being transported to Lila’s magical realm this half-term.”

Find out more and book your tickets for the Firework-Maker’s Daughter here.