Virtual storytelling for families returns with a seasonal twist

Bob and Hannah, from Kitchen Zoo, recording The Gingerbread Man (Skeleton) for the virtual event.
Bob and Hannah, from Kitchen Zoo, recording The Gingerbread Man (Skeleton) for the virtual event.

Creative craft sessions and a spook-tastic story will be available online for families to enjoy this half term.

Durham County Council’s community arts team and libraries service have teamed up with family-favourite theatre company Kitchen Zoo to produce two entertaining online videos for children to watch and take part in during the school holidays.

The first video will be a craft session to go live on the council’s YouTube channel at 2pm on Tuesday, 27th October. In this session, families will be shown how to create themed props ready for a story-time video to come later in the week.

This story will tell the adventures of The Gingerbread Man (or Skeleton), with actors illustrating the tale. Young people under the age of five and their families can watch and take part with their homemade props. The video will be live from 2pm on Thursday, 29th October.

The council has supported many local theatre companies and performers whilst they have been unable to work due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Earlier this year, during the summer months, a different story was told online each week on the council’s YouTube channel, with over 2,500 viewers tuning in to watch productions by different theatre companies. The full playlist is still available to view on the Libraries Online Playlist.

These two new videos will add some seasonal entertainment for families during the October holidays and help bring them together by being creative.

Cllr Joy Allen, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for transformation, culture and tourism, said: “Thanks to the success of the videos that were broadcasted during the summer, we are delighted to have Kitchen Zoo produce two great online videos for children and their families to enjoy together this half term.

“The producers at Kitchen Zoo have worked incredibly hard to bring these entertaining pieces to life which will engage with viewers through creative craft sessions and dynamic storytelling. We hope everyone enjoys watching these videos and takes part in the fun activities.”

Bob Nicholson, from Kitchen Zoo, said: “It’s been really lovely telling some of our favourite stories online, especially this year when we couldn’t do it in person.

“We’ve enjoyed the challenge of getting to grips with filming and I’ve enjoyed watching the other videos from wonderful storytellers like Ruth Johnson, Shelley O’Brien and Stan Hodgson.

“The first stories we made were tricky because we had to film separately, but for The Tortoise and the Hare and our Halloween story it’s been nice to be telling them together while socially distanced. We hope you enjoy our spooky Halloween story but don’t worry, it’s not too scary.”

Hannah Goudie-Hunter, from Kitchen Zoo, added: “A big thank you to Durham County Council for creating an opportunity and valuing local artists during what has been an uncertain time. It has been wonderful to be able to continue creating work for our family audience and to also reach new audiences through this digital offer.

“We have loved hearing from school teachers from across the country that they have used these stories in their classrooms and in-home learning. Both Bob and I have learnt new skills in creating digital work, from filming to editing. We are now looking forward to how Kitchen Zoo can complement our live work with a digital offer, so watch this space. 

“We had a joyous afternoon in a park in South Shields creating The Gingerbread Skeleton and we hope you enjoy watching it as much as we did creating it.”

The half term videos, and the existing Libraries Online Playlist, can be watched at


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