At a time when Covid-19 prevented in-person workshops or friends and families coming together, Little Angel Theatre in London wanted to create an intergenerational project that would make a difference.

Funded by a Creative Lives micro-commission through our Get Creative strand, Little Angel Theatre collaborated with Age UK - Islington on a shadow puppet theatre show. The aim of which was to reduce social isolation and increase well-being by being creatively together, while apart. 

Age UK Islington supports adults of all ages above 16, including unpaid carers and those facing complex situations. It provides advice and connects people with expert agencies and social groups.

Little Angel Theatre is a home for puppetry and since its doors first opened in 1961, the theatre has been dedicated to creating and sharing inspiring stories. 

'Watch, Share and Make' took the form of four online making workshops with nine Age UK Islington clients, sharing outcomes in an online shadow puppetry show with young audiences and their families.

"I’m always looking for activities that can be entertaining and stimulating at the same time," says Carmen Alcovedes, Activities Coordinator at Age UK Islington. "So when our CEO mentioned the opportunity of collaborating with Little Angel Theatre, I thought wow, great!”

The workshops were relaxed and informative, teaching the group how to create a shadow puppet theatre in their own homes, using readily available materials including a cereal box and baking paper, as well as simple assembling techniques which created a sense of wonder when illuminated. Several of the workshops were recorded for a documentation film produced by Little Angel Theatre to capture the beauty of the sessions. 

Clients were encouraged to come up with their own stories and characters, and bonds were formed between group members through getting creative, making, sharing and supporting each other. For many, it was the first time they had tried to create a shadow puppet theatre - it was often challenging creating the set remotely, and this brought its own rewards. "Shadow puppetry was the right medium because it’s magic," says workshop leader Caroline Ada.

Feedback from the group was positive, with a sense of pride from both the group members and their audience:

  • ‘I loved it, it was just lovely, thank you for the privilege’ - Age UK Client
  • ‘Well done, Nanny!’ - Grandchild
  • "I’m delighted and proud that I did it. It’s something I hadn’t got around to before - never had the time or the money, and the fact that it was free was fantastic." - Age UK client 

The documentary film gave a chance to reflect on the project, as well as create a platform to share the amazing work, stories and experiences of those involved - and inspire others to take part in similar projects.  

You can watch the documentation film here: (running time: 3.32 mins. Film made by Emily Kay Stoker for Little Angel Theatre, commissioned by Creative Lives)

[Image: Still from documentation film made by Emily Kay Stoker, depicting the set created in the workshops, with the character Little Rabbit Foo Foo.]

To discover the rest of the Get Creative and Make a Difference projects in England, read our interactive digital publication via ISSUU.