A Thanet author who published her first book in 2019 has seen her story brought to life on the stage.
Former Broadstairs creative writing student Lauren Busby created independent publisher, Dreamy Books and then brought out uplifting children’s rhyming story Woblin.
The book, which was illustrated by Margate’s award-winning Alex Foster, focused on a character by the same name, who was previously ridiculed and driven to exile due to her physical appearance. In the book Woblin meets a young boy who has also been teased. Together, they embark on an adventure, which leads them to discover the importance of what’s inside and the value of helping others, giving them both the new-found inner strength and sense of self-worth they had been missing.
The book has now been brought to life by Inspiration Creative’s youth theatre during Paines Plough’s pop-up theatre Roundabout in Newington earlier this month.
The Thanet-based company, run by Zoe and Peter Hammond, provides inclusive performance workshops for people of all abilities and disabilities. The couple give children who don’t have disabilities the opportunity to learn how to interact with and understand their peers with disabilities – peers that they might never normally associate with – on stage as well as rehearsals and workshops.
The two Inspiration Junior Youth Theatre’s are based in St. Peter’s and Newington. The Newington group is the most recently formed following a partnership with Newington Big Local and Starlings CIC after receiving funding from the Albert Burns Children’s Trust through Kent Community Foundation.
The aim of both groups is to create regular, accessible workshops for children of any ability aged 7-11, the groups are inclusive and the staff are highly experienced in supporting those who have a range of learning disabilities and sensory impairment, as well as being artistes, directors and performers themselves.
The ‘Woblin’ project was created during lockdown thanks to help from the Cultural Recovery Grant from Arts Council England. It was adapted in a way that can be reworked with small or large groups, with children from mainstream or special schools including those with highly complex needs. The en-route workshop and show can be signed in BSL and the team hope to be able to work with more children living with deafness.
Author Lauren said: “The day was an absolute dream; an unforgettable, special day that will live with me forever. Seeing my characters and story brought to life by the children and volunteers at Inspiration Creative so beautifully was a real ‘pinch yourself’ moment, and I thank them all from the bottom of my heart.
“The response from the audiences was amazing, and seeing the children queuing for photos with Woblin and Thomas after each performance was totally surreal, in the loveliest way possible.
“Given how the story of Woblin is centred on kindness, friendship, and accepting our differences, there is no other theatre group better suited in its adaptation than Inspiration Creative.
“I am honoured they chose my book to feature at the Roundabout Theatre – as is Alex Foster, the local artist who illustrated the book; he was also in attendance.
“I am excited to see what is next for Woblin: hearing Zoe and Peter’s plans to take the puppets into local schools to continue spreading Woblin’s positive messages is fantastic news. That was always the dream with Woblin: to reach and inspire as many children as possible.”
Contact Inspiration Creative on 07792 684227 firstname.lastname@example.org www.inspirationcreative.co.uk or find them on Facebook and YouTube as Inspiration Creative Thanet