How Does Children's Theatre Work Online? - Monkey Trousers Theatre

How Does Children’s Theatre Work Online?

Bristol is a great place for entertaining the kids: there's plenty of green spaces, museums, cinemas, shops, family events, and of course... theatre! But what do you do when everything is closed? Where do you get your fix of brilliant children's theatre if all the venues are shut?

Ta-ta For Now, Children’s Theatre

Monkey Trousers Theatre has performed the popular children’s theatre show Mr Gotalot’s Gotalot Shop all over the city of Bristol: we’ve put on shows at the Bristol Old Vic, the Trinity Centre, the Old School Rooms in Chew Magna, Kelvin Players Studio Theatre, and The Wardrobe Theatre. We’ve even done a show at the Komedia in Bath! We also regularly performed our interactive storytelling adventures for younger children, The Pop Up Shop, in venues like the Zion Community Centre in Bishopsworth, and the Old Library in Eastville.

One of our children's theatre performances.
The Crystal Cheese – September 2017

But due to the pandemic, everything closed during the first lockdown in 2020. We had to postpone our most recent full-length children’s theatre show, The Cheese Party, after only two performances at The Wardrobe Theatre. And we had to cancel all of our upcoming Pop Up Shop shows, and we had no idea when we’d be able to do live performance again. Nightmare!

What We Did Instead…

After waiting a few months to see if it was going to be possible to put on our shows again, it soon became clear that we were going to be living with social restrictions for a while longer yet; which meant, of course, that all the theatre venues were adversely affected by having to reduce audience capacity. Suddenly we were hit by the realisation that if we wanted to continue creating awesome children’s theatre, we were going to have to think outside the box!

Our YouTube channel for children's theatre online, Gotalot TV
Our YouTube channel – Gotalot TV

Which meant, for us, producing hilarious online comedy videos for kids, and posting them on YouTube.

Easy-peasy! Or is it…?

A Whole New World for Children’s Theatre Online!

Turns out producing comedy videos for kids and performing live children’s theatre are two very different things!

First, we had to make the videos. Which meant: coming up with ideas, planning scripts, gathering/making props, sourcing costumes, writing scripts, getting a high quality camera and all the other technical gear, planning a shooting schedule, and then actually filming the children’s theatre. This can all take a very long time!

The making of our new YouTube channel for children's theatre online.
Behind the camera at Gotalot TV.

Then, once we have filmed everything we need for our videos, we have to edit it all together, plus add any sound effects or special visual effects, to make sure the finished video is as awesome as we want it to be. This can also take a long time!

Once the editing is done and we are happy with the video, we have to release it into the wild! By which we mean, upload it to our brand new children’s theatre online TV channel on YouTube, Gotalot TV. This is the home of all our hilarious videos for kids set in the colourful and crazy world of Mr Gotalot’s Gotalot Shop. You can subscribe to the channel and keep up to date with all our new releases. So far we have done singalong videos, funny chat shows with Mr Gotalot himself, and brilliantly silly ‘Doing…’ videos with Ms Barnet trying out things like science, and food tasting. And we have lots more to come, including totally random quiz shows, and an extra-special online edition of the theatrical sitcom Mr Gotalot’s Gotalot Shop.

HOw we make our children's theatre online shows.
Our lead puppeteer, Charlotte Whitten, helping Mr Gotalot work at his desk.

There are lots and lots of different types of videos for children online; they can be educational and entertaining, or informative and fun, or just pure comedy, like Gotalot TV! We wanted our online video content to be as funny and as ridiculous as our live children’s theatre – if you’ve been to see one of our stage shows here in Bristol, then check out Gotalot TV for more of the same silliness!

Returning to Children’s Theatre

It’s been a challenging year or so for us here at Monkey Trousers Theatre, as we have moved from live children’s theatre into online kids’ entertainment. There are great things about both disciplines, but we are looking forward to theatres in Bristol opening up again later this year, so that we can bring back our amazing theatrical shows for children to the stage!

In the meantime, we will continue to create online comedy videos for children – go now to Gotalot TV to see what we’ve been up to…

If you would like to donate to Monkey Trousers Theatre, to help keep our online children’s theatre channel running and help us prepare for when we are able to perform again, you can do so on our Donate page.

Donate to the arts, monkey trousers theatre needs your help to continue our children's theatre online.

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Post By

Fran Lewis

Fran spends a great deal of her time concocting stories for Monkey Trousers Theatre about Mr Gotalot and his magical shop.

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