The Whirlybird

For Ages 3-7 (Nursery & P1-3 Pupils)

27th September – 1st December 2023

“A delightful show… slips from hilarity to pathos with ease, and keeps the children transfixed. With a colourful, autumnal set festooned with pine cones, a birdhouse, feathers and toadstool and gorgeous wee puppets, it is sure to fly further afield, soar, and keep going.”

★★★★ for Eco Drama’s The Whirlybird, Lorna Irvine, The List
Eco Drama - The Whirlybird logo

Overview

Eco Drama in association with Platform presents The Whirlybird, an uplifting theatre show for children aged 3-7, featuring movement, music, bird song, puppetry and lots of things that spin!

In a cosy nest, two birds look skyward and get ready for their maiden flight. While flying comes easy for Bird, Whirlybird just can’t get the hang of it. After many failed attempts, inspiration is found in a very special flying seed…

A curious creature, ricketie-racketie on ground but in flight, a wildlife spectacle – a blizzard of wings, perfect elliptical twirls, a mass of orange and browns and a cacophony of sound!

The Whirlybird is a funny, playful and moving piece of visual theatre about learning to fly, encouraging one another and finding joy and inspiration in nature.

With a beautiful music score by award-winning composer Greg Sinclair and set and costume by Claire Halleran, The Whirlybird draws inspiration from the natural world to celebrate diversity and uniqueness and the wonder of flight.

The production was developed in collaboration with Platform Arts Centre and children at Buchlyvie Nursery in Glasgow, with support from Creative Scotland.

Tour Dates

The Whirlybird was back on the road during Autumn 2023, visiting 24 schools, nurseries, theatres and community venues across Glasgow and Scotland.

To enquire about future tours, please contact emily@ecodrama.co.uk

Gallery

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“A delightful show… slips from hilarity to pathos with ease, and keeps the children transfixed. With a colourful, autumnal set festooned with pine cones, a birdhouse, feathers and toadstool and gorgeous wee puppets, both designed by Claire Halleran and featuring magical music from composer Greg Sinclair, it is sure to fly further afield, soar, and keep going.”

★★★★ for Eco Drama’s The Whirlybird, Lorna Irvine, The List – read the full review

“Thank you so much. Our children had a fantastic day and loved your performance. They said it was magical! Our full time children asked if they could see it again in the afternoon as they enjoyed it so much.”

Our Lady of the Rosary Nursery Class

“Was lucky to see a wee preview of this – wonderful. The wee one loved it too! So funny and moving.”

Audience member, Platform

“After watching Eco Drama’s excellent Whirlybird, we went in search of more birds!”

Cat, Audience Member, Lochwinnoch Arts Festival

“What a joyful piece of children’s theatre, all the children were completely captivated, me too! 5 stars!”

Louise, Audience Member, Dundee Rep Theatre

“Lovely, lyrical, inspiring, thought provoking. Beautiful music and movement. ★★★★”

Audience member, Dundee Rep

“Absolutely fantastic, informative and visually inspiring.”

Langa Street Nursery

“We all really enjoyed the show. It was innovative and got the children thinking.”

Aultmore Park Primary

Children have been interested in seeds/planting/bird watching when outdoors. The show modelled kind behaviour, moral of ‘keep trying’ and being willing to ‘have a go’.

Glenwood Nursery

“It was gentle and made the children think about birds in a deeper way.”

Nithsdale Road Nursery

“The show was very well done, it looked very interesting when the children came into the hall and there was a relaxing and calm atmosphere for them to come into.”

Lourdes Nursery

“Yet again, we were impressed with an eco-drama performance and would recommend them to other schools/nurseries. Thank you!

Aultmore Park Primary

“I liked the flying seeds”

“My favourite was the colours and the swirly ribbons”

“I liked the bird puppets”

“I liked when they were flying”

“It made me feel good, I was happy”

“It was funny”

“I told my granny about the show”

Children – various Glasgow nurseries

“I went to watch the whirlybird, and it was awesome! I wish I could go again. The acting and puppetry was great, and the story was heart lifting. It is for all ages! At the end, we got to play with the props! I loved it. I recommend watching the whirlybird, for it is a memorable experience that I will remember in years time. The music was very good!”

Maisie

“This is all about bringing everyday nature centre-stage – before climate change robs tots of the real thing.”

Mary Brennan, The Herald

“The Whirlybird offers a joyful celebration of the richness of nature, of a kind that becomes more useful and relevant, with every passing day.”

Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman

Director/Devisor: Emily Reid
Performers/Devisors: Caroline Mathison and Beth Kovarik
Set & Costume Designer: Claire Halleran
Composer: Greg Sinclair
Dramaturg: Katrina Caldwell
Stage Manager: Cat Carrington
Artwork: Lindsay Scott and Ben Cormack

With thanks to Emma Clifton for costume making and Roy Mohan Shearer of Zero One for the puppetry mechanics.

Meet the Creative Team

35 minute performance + 10 minutes post-show discussion and stay and play, where suitable.

We can also deliver a post-show play based workshop ‘Whirly Play’ which runs at 35 minutes.

We can also provide Activity Packs for venue performances on request, containing bird seed, a sycamore seed and a paper whirlybird activity sheet. These can be handed out to children after the show.

The Whirlybird Classroom Activity Pack is provided in digital format to all nurseries and schools who book the performance, and venues where suitable.

The Whirlybird features no spoken dialogue, and focuses instead on design, musical score, movement and puppetry. The structure and style of the performance creates a highly accessible experience, capable of catering to groups from various backgrounds, with varying access requirements.

The Whirlybird can tour to nurseries, primary schools, theatres, community venues and festivals across Scotland and the UK. It is a self-contained show, and we tour with our own sound kit. In venues where it is an option, we have a simple lighting spec, but the show can operate successfully without lighting and in the most basic of venues. For a detailed show specification please get in touch.

This funny, playful and moving piece of theatre inspires its young audience about the wonder of birds and flight, encouraging them to connect with the natural world and the outdoors. Movement, bird song and puppetry stimulate the senses, and the non-verbal nature of the piece lends itself well to learners of all abilities. The themes of celebrating differences, nurturing others and being prepared to try and fail tap into children’s capacity to empathise. Children’s curiosity for the natural environment, birds and flight will be sparked and learning motivated in Science, Social Studies, Expressive Arts and Health & Wellbeing, both in the classroom and in outdoor learning. The theatre piece also relates well to the Eco Schools topics of Biodiversity and School Grounds, and will compliment Learning for Sustainability.

Number of Performances to date: 159
Audience Members reached to date: 6,183
Theatres, venues & schools: 80

Glasgow Nurseries and Schools Tour
1st March – 31st May 2019

Puppet Animation Festival 2019
30th March – 16th April 2019

Summer Festivals and Theatre Tour
June – July 2019

Scottish Theatres Autumn Tour
October 2019

Scottish Theatres Spring Tour
February – March 2020

Glasgow & Aberdeen Nursery & Schools Tour
29th January – 17th March 2020

Scottish Theatres Autumn Tour
September – December 2023

Glasgow Nursery & Schools Tour
September – December 2023

The Whirlybird has performed in venues and festivals including: The Byre, Cumbernauld Theatre, Harbour Arts Centre, Johnstone Town Hall, The Village Storytelling Centre, Eastwood Park Theatre, The Barn, North Edinburgh Arts, Dundee Rep Theatre, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, The Brunton, The Pagoda, Platform, Howden Park Centre, Aberdeen Performing Arts Music Hall, Swallow Theatre, Citadel Arts, The Children’s Wood, Puppet Animation Festival, Lochwinnoch Family Festival and Glasgow Canal Festival.

Supporters

The Whirlybird development and creation was gratefully supported by Creative Scotland, the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation, the Sylvia Waddilove Foundation, The Pump House Trust and Platform.

Creative Scotland logo
Esmee Fairbairn logo