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The Flying Bedroom in Real Life - Heather Dyer

Elinor had only been a figment of my imagination until Little Light brought her to life in their digital dance show, The Flying Bedroom. It was surreal seeing Elinor played by Angharad Jones, speaking the lines I’d written for her – and new lines, too. Sometimes, when people read a book, then see a film where the characters aren’t quite as they imagined them, they feel dismayed. But Angharad’s acting was so convincing and expressive, there was no doubt in my mind that this was the real Elinor – on stage, at least. The other characters in the story also appeared. They were all played by a versatile Catherine Ryan, and each of them had become funnier, or sillier, or sadder than I’d remembered them.

When a story is told in another medium, the new artform provides new opportunities. I’ve always loved flying scenes in books and I try to describe them so that readers can really imagine it. But on stage, the audience really gets to feel as though they’re flying. Rob Spaull  has created the backdrop through an ‘intelligent gaming engine’ (I think that’s what it’s called) so the terrain tilts as the bedroom flies; the town of Aberdovey gets closer when it lands; even the ocean looks as though it’s lapping up on the edge of Elinor’s bedroom when it comes ashore.

The Flying Bedroom is a curious mix of story, dance, and digital experience. Elinor and the marauding pirate ‘dance’ their combat round the bedroom. Elinor and the diver dance their underwater odyssey – and Elinor and the astronaut roll about the moon on huge pink space hoppers (with matching helmets!) dancing their desire to reach the stars.

Writing a book can be a lonely and a thankless task. You never know whether it will get published – and even if it is, you never get to be inside your readers’ heads when they are reading. One of the loveliest things about sitting back to watch They Flying Bedroom yesterday was watching the audience. I saw a little girl in the front row reaching up as high as she could, as though to reach the stars with Elinor and the astronaut. I saw a girl sitting right on the edge of her seat during the flying scenes. And I saw nearly every child’s hand go up when they were asked who wanted to take part in the dance workshop with director-choreographer Lisa Spaull after the show. When I left the theatre, I remembered all over again why I write for children.