Bob’s book to be transformed into stage performance for Durham Book Festival

Children at the Greenhills Community Centre and a helper from the Man on the Moon team with their artworks.

Children at the Greenhills Community Centre and a helper from the Man on the Moon team with their artworks.

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The man on the moon is taking a break to bring his tales of space back down to earth.

Man On The Moon has transformed Hebburn-raised Simon Bartram’s award-winning stories into a theatre show, thanks to children who have helping creators come up with ideas.

A scene from Man on the Moon, as Bob takes care of the moon.

A scene from Man on the Moon, as Bob takes care of the moon.

Produced by New Writing North, in association with Sage Gateshead for Durham Book Festival, the performances will feature original live music and will tour libraries, community centres and primary schools in County Durham.

The story follows a day in the life of Bob, an ordinary man who happens to have the most extraordinary job of caretaker and tour guide on the moon, who doesn’t believe in aliens.

Director Ruth Johnson, writer Zoe Cooper and performer Claire Tustin have been working with families to share their ideas about how to transfer the story from picture book to stage.

Youngsters have also written up their own list of rules for the Bob Fan Club, with others now being encouraged to join up by posting their own photographs and videos to the tour’s Facebook page.

Author Simon Bartram.

Author Simon Bartram.

They include youngsters at Greenhills Community Centre in Wheatley Hill, who have been showing the team how to walk and dress like aliens.

They have made alien artwork, and even written new alien songs and played along on their own instruments.

To encourage children to take part, they are offering five signed copies of the picture book Man on the Moon to the most convincing Bobs.

Audiences will be able to discover what happens for themselves when the show, led by a three-strong cast, visits the centre, along with Trimdon Station Community Centre, and Peterlee Library as part of a tour.

Party time for aliens in Man on the Moon.

Party time for aliens in Man on the Moon.

It is also set to visit Cleadon Park Library at 10am on Monday, September 28, and South Shields Central Library at 2pm on Saturday, October 31.

Ruth said: “We have been so overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the children and their families in engaging with the story and I look forward to seeing how these ideas can help inform the production.

“The project has had a profound effect on me as a director.

“The production is aimed at children under seven, and so is often the first theatrical experience the audience may have.

“I feel very lucky to be involved with creating shared family memories and encouraging a lasting love of sharing stories.

“Creating work for children means creating work for some of the toughest critics out there.

“If they don’t like it they will certainly let you know.”

As part of the tour, which also takes in the Sage, as well as locations in County Durham, Hull, Leeds, Manchester, Northumberland, Sheffield and Wakefield, the production will also be backed by workshops and projects.

More details can be found at www.manonthemoontour.com.