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The House of Fairy Tales: The Adventure of the Missing Manuscript

— August 2012

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The Story Generating Machine, part of The Adventure of the Missing Manuscript at The House of Fairy Tales, Stratford-upon-Avon

Swan Room, Royal Shakespeare Theatre and around the RSC Gardens, Stratford-upon-Avon

28 July - 2 September 2012

Admission Free

The House of Fairytales, brainchild of the artists Gavin Turk and Deborah Curtis, presents The Adventure of The Missing Manuscript, a family-friendly installation and story-trail around the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and surrounding gardens.

The Adventure of The Missing Manuscript is free of charge and runs until Sunday 2 September 2012.

The Adventure of The Missing Manuscript leads children and adults into an exciting world inspired by the creative genius of Shakespeare’s mind. There are two interactive elements: an immersive installation of the imagined, magnificent mind of Shakespeare; and a story-based trail with illustrated map around the gardens.

This work was created with 8–12 year olds in mind but the intention is that everyone who experiences the adventure will go away with a sense of their own creativity and a passion for Shakespeare.

Artist Deborah Curtis says of the project:
Shakespeare is our most timeless, ageless and universal of storytellers and is therefore an honorary member of The House of Fairy Tales pantheon! Through this latest House of Fairy Tales Adventure, we hope to inspire a love of the Bard and a love of theatre in children of all ages.

The House of Fairy Tales has converted the  RSC's Swan Room into a magical theatre-making play area. It contains weird and wonderful props and devices all designed to stimulate the imagination and ignite the creative spark. Children are invited to travel through this tactile installation to write and perform their own Shakespearean-style tales.
The installation has lots of interactive elements that children can engage with including:

  • A magnificent Story Generating Machine, made up of cogs and dials containing character names, genres, key words and phrases from Shakespeare’s writings. A quick spin on the machine and ideas for a story are randomly generated.
  • The Casket of Mysterious Properties, which contains an eclectic assortment of props from the RSC store.
  • A Costume Wardrobe full of colourful, hand-crafted outfits.
  • A Sound Effects Barrow where playmakers can generate atmospheric noises such as thunder and lightning.
  • A Shadow Theatre where children can act out the plays that they’ve created.

In short, all the ingredients for creating a magical play can be found in the Swan Room.

A beautifully illustrated map containing puzzles and tasks accompanies the story-based adventure trail. Signposted along the trail are markers with interesting tales from Shakespeare’s world, including amusing anecdotes and stories about the characters that populated his plays.
Commissioned specially for the Royal Shakespeare Company as part of the World Shakespeare Festival, The Adventure of the Missing Manuscript promises a fun, immersive and interactive experience for all the family.

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