The beginning of the big fabric theater

Published : 08/31/2018 09:00:00
Categories : Les Elfes de Tialy

The beginning

For a couple of years now, children story play mats, or story theaters have been very popular on the web. The concept is to create a link between the story and the objects, to mime the story and make it real and appealing for the kids. When children can actually see the action, they immerse themselves in the story and understand it much better. Children are enthralled, it is a real show!

All these fabric theaters are handmade. Touch is important, the way the fabric feels is as essential as the way it looks. The little characters have to be soft and easy to handle. 

These fabric theaters only illustrate 1 story or 1 fairy tale. So they are great tools for professional storytellers or libraries. You have to have a large audience to be able to tell the same story often. 

As a mum, I loved these fabric theaters, they are large and soft, their colors are bright and it creates this magic link between the story and the performance in the theater. What I loved most was the look in the children’s eyes, they were completely captivated!

Unfortunately, it was impossible to buy one for myself: because they are so large and represent so much work, they are extremely expensive, especially because you can only tell one story. Because I can sew, I thought I could make one, but it is really too many hours to put in a theater which can only be used for 1 story.

The idea of the theater and the first prototype

Very soon, the idea of a big fabric theater came to me, it would be a stage, and you would be able to tell many stories on that background. Of course it is always handmade but if you have to put so much effort into it, it is better to be able to tell many different stories with it.

The actual making of the theater took a long time… technical obstacles were met and overcome: how to change the setting easily between a story and another, how to keep it pretty, practical, and soft, which shape to choose (flat, padded, or both), how to make the little characters and objects look pretty although they are so small , and how to actually sew them easily, how to keep the cost down for parents and schools, how to make it modular so it can grow the kids ….. 

There were many versions, with some major disappointments. My first beta tester was brutal, and rightly so! Thanks to her, I changed, modified things but each time it made the theater a little better. 

My very first version:

© Les Elfes de Tialy

A little sidetrack : the baby sensory activity mat 

Things happen in life, so the theater turned into a play mat for my baby. It was perfect because it is based on touch (the very first sense in the baby’s development), I used fake fur, corduroy velvet, simple cotton, minkee velvet, all sorts of different fabrics…

The play mat was created with latest discovery in cognitive science in mind. For example: no need to use many bright colors, infants cannot see them as their eyes have not reached this level of development yet. It is better to use very contrasting colors, black and white, as the contrast is easier to see for the baby. 

With different fabrics so that the baby can feel the difference.

Back to the theatre

Little by little, the theater started to take shape, it was tested by different people (parents, but also school teachers, recreation centers, kindergartens, psychomotor therapists...)

© Les Elfes de Tialy

Following these tests, the theater changed again and we have reached the 9th prototype… but is is not the last version, just the latest. To be continued….

© Les Elfes de Tialy

We are parents (and grandparents!) able to creat a show for our children: to play them stories. And our children can also tell stories or invent their own stories on a large theatre

For the pleasure of imagining together!

Related Posts

Share this content

Add a comment

You must be registered
Clic here to registered