News: Charlotte Holmes Adventure Box: New theatrical experience for familes and children during lockdown

Building on the success of its digital offerings during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield have collaborated with Lancaster’s treasured arts venue The Dukes and theatre producers The Big Tiny to create Charlotte Holmes, a new interactive theatrical experience for 7 – 12 year olds to enjoy at home. Unfolding over seven fun-filled days, the Adventure Box is packed with games, recorded performances from actors, activities, mysteries, clues, puzzles and online content.

Set in 1940, Charlotte Holmes follows the story of a young girl who has been evacuated to Yorkshire during World War II and follows in the steps of legendary, super-sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. The Charlotte Holmes Activity Box has been developed out of a need for creative activities for young people whose opportunities have disappeared when arts organisations were forced to close during lockdown. Offering an alternative to summer schools, which in many cases have been cancelled, this is the perfect artistic and educational gift to get children out and about during the holidays, with 10+ hours of play time.

At a time when many arts organisations went dark, the Lawrence Batley Theatre has been at the forefront of digital innovation during the cultural shift caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and has risen above many other organisations while continuing to adapt and bring original online theatre to the world, at a time when the theatre industry faces ongoing struggles. Within days of lockdown, the theatre had launched their completely free online channel, LBTV, filled with workshops and masterclasses, storytelling sessions and backstage videos – reaching over 17,500 views. Alongside their free programme, they produced two online plays; The Understudy and Nigel Slater’s Toast, which welcomed digital audiences from over 40 countries.

Additionally, the Dukes has played a huge part during the COVID-19 Pandemic and have been working digitally since lockdown with their channel the Digital Dukes. They have launched five participatory online creative programmes reaching 43,000 and commissioned ten artists to create online content reaching 43,500 online over the lockdown period.

Henry Filloux-Bennett, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Lawrence Batley Theatre comments, ” We are thrilled to be working alongside our friends at The Big Tiny and the Dukes in Lancaster. Charlotte Holmes builds on the success of our digital programme which has now reached over 20,000 views through our ticketed online plays and free platform LBTV – allowing us to reach new audiences by keeping young people and their families entertained and educated during the summer holidays”.

The Big Tiny are theatrical imagineers specialising in family entertainment. From their workshops in Greater Manchester they manufacture all things show related from puppets to pantomimes and sets to scripts. The Big Tiny’s co-founders and producers Ben Richards and Will Cousins said: “We are big believers that theatre should be entertaining and relevant for modern audiences. We’re very proud to be working with our partners at the LBT and the Dukes to create Charlotte Holmes. It’s exciting to be able to bring something so innovative and creative to family audiences across the country”.

Karen O’Neill, Director of The Dukes, commented: “The Dukes is excited to bring the interactive theatrical adventure of Charlotte Holmes to families across Lancashire and beyond. In partnership with the Lawrence Batley Theatre this unique at home experience is fun for all the family. Working through the clues with help from Charlotte and her new friends to solve the mystery is a must for any young sleuth. The Dukes is committed to high quality family theatre and finding new ways to connect with our audiences during this time through our digital programme. We hope you will join in adventure“.

Available to purchase from www.thelbt.org or www.dukeslancaster.org, one adventure box has everything needed for a whole family to play along, including: toys, activities, access to online performances, posters, puzzle books plus all the clues to solve four different mysteries.

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