Magical journeys into the woods for sensory learners

Photo: Magical journeys into the woods for sensory learners

DIY Core Company’s work on our new show ‘Hanging by a Thread’ is coming to fruition.

It started with magical ideas

Hanging by a Thread is DIY’s third show designed specifically for sensory young people to access in small groups. Devised by DIY Core Company members, it explores environmental themes. The company has, as ever, been very creative during the research and development stage. They have created a performance which takes the audience on a journey into magical woods. Once inside they are invited to connect with nature and to play their part in protecting our precious environment.

We are going to follow the trees
Into the woods, Into the woods

Full of wonder, what will we see?
Into the woods, into the woods”

There are pieces of white paper on a wooden floor. both have simple drawings on and some words. The one on the left has a drawing of someone with a big smile on their face and a 'W' on their top. Behind them are drawings of trees and a sign which says 'Woods'. Above them are the words "Want an adventure?" Below the words we can see 5 smiley face drawings with the wod "Yes!" above them.

Making the ideas come alive

The Core Company have had a lot of fun developing puppet ideas with puppeteer Beka Haigh including making giant puppets out of withies and large sheets of paper. Beka has created some wonderful puppets based on our ideas. These include a large graceful bird puppet, that is operated by three people, and a group of little chirpy magic birds that actors move on short sticks.

Musicians Sarah Atter and Sophie Coward worked with the team to create original music for the show. This includes a beautiful song to accompany the big bird puppet:

Fly High,
Up in the Sky
Teach us all how to fly”

and a much more boppy song to accompany the smaller magic birds

Have you heard
The magic Birds…..
Tweeting at me?”

In line with our Environmental Sustainability Policy, Nerissa Cargill Thompson has been working with us to re-purpose costumes from an earlier performance. Nerissa has also created a magic tree and magical threads for our journey into the woods, again using recycled materials.


We can see into a room. A tall and short person are standing looking off to the right through binoculars. They are wearing matching costumes - dark blue with strips of green and yellow hanging from shoulders an waist. There are lots of long fabric stips of the same colours filling the space behind them like a screen.

The magical journeys have begun

The research and development phase of this project culminates in pilot performances in four Special Schools; Springwood Primary, Oakwood Academy, Chatsworth Futures and Firwood School. We were very excited to share our scratch performance with two very young audiences at Springwood School on Tuesday 28th March. The children loved all our props and really enjoyed the live music.

From April to June we will continue to build on our skills in working with sensory learners. We look forward to sharing more “scratch” performances with Oakwood Academy on 25 April and Firwood School on 16 May.

We will be gathering lots of feedback from our partner schools. This will help us to fine tune the production ready for the next stage.

Following this period of final development we will be organising an ambitious tour of special schools across the region.

Looking forward to lots of fabulous magical journeys into the woods with our sensory audiences in the future!


We can see a smiling young woman with an orange bird sitting on her shoulder - not a real one its stuffed!

‘Hanging by a Thread’ is created and performed by actors with learning disabilities.

We are very grateful to Arts Council England who are funding this work.

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