This Halloween children’s entertainers Captain Fantastic have joined forces with experienced theatre producers Edward Andrews and Eleanor Russo of Bedouin Shakespeare Company to create an immersive virtual trick or treat experience for children up and down the country. I spoke with Tommy Balaam, actor and founder of Captain Fantastic, to find out more.
Can you tell me about Captain Fantastic and the virtual trick or treat?
Welcome to Spooksville, the creepiest and silliest town to go trick or treating in. Go door to door meeting Igor, Wendy ‘the Friendly’ Witch, Count Spatula the Vegetarian Vampire and last but not least, Dr Zob. But wait, something isn’t right… Captain Fantastic has gone missing! Knock on the doors, complete the challenges, get lots of treats (and maybe some tricks) along the way.
What was the inspiration behind the idea?
During the pandemic we feel children’s wellbeing has been put at the bottom of the priority list. That’s why we don’t want children to miss out on the joyous occasion of Halloween. We know parents won’t want to go knocking on doors at this time, so we thought: why not do it virtually? Better still, why don’t we add some of that Captain Fantastic flair to make it a full theatrical experience?
How have you found creating an online immersive experience?
Captain Fantastic launched online pretty quickly during the first lockdown, and our first live had over 10 thousand people watching. With this, we decided to run an online timetable throughout lockdown which had a reach of 3.5 million. We were never really online as such before lockdown, but it’s funny how quickly you adapt when you need to.
We have teamed up with Edward Andrews & Eleanor Russo who are the producers of the award-winning online sensation ‘jurygames.com’, to make sure that our Virtual Trick or Treat is something special.
What can audiences expect?
We’re trying to give kids all the usual excitement experienced during trick-or-treating. The fun of knocking on doors and being in costume will take place in a safe and new way. We are trying to keep the joy of this shared experience with other people alive, even if it’s from your own living room. Our entertainers will make sure that kids feel special at every virtual door.
How important is it for you to connect with younger viewers at this time?
It is extremely important to spread joy and create memories in a time when so many things are still uncertain. Everyone wants to celebrate Halloween with their little ones, so we are making sure it’s going ahead in a safe and exciting way. We are always running free shows on our Facebook page Captain Fantastic Children’s Entertainment, and we will continue to create new, fun, safe and exciting things for kids to do.
What three words would you use to describe the show?
Hilariously Spooky Fun!
Captain Fantastic will run on Saturday 31 October from 10am – 8pm.