Soap Soup Theatre raising £5K for children in serious healthcare treatment

Soap Soup Theatre launches Crowdfunder for children with long-term health conditions

Soap Soup Theatre, a theatre-maker for families in Bristol, has launched a Crowdfunder to bring its brand-new project Minny Stynker to children with long-term health conditions across the Southwest.

Minny Stynker is a theatre production, a picture book and an Augmented Reality Experience which addresses barriers faced by children in accessing creative experiences when they are receiving serious healthcare treatment. The project was dreamt up by artistic director Tomasin Cuthbert after spending a month in Bristol’s Neonatal intensive care unit when her son was born in Feb 2020.

Premiering at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatres this half-term, ahead of a UK-wide tour, Minny Stynker combines the magic of live performance and puppetry with cutting-edge projection mapping and augmented reality technology.

Alongside the theatre show at Tobacco Factory Theatres, an immersive AR experience and Minny Stynker picture book will be distributed to hospitals, hospices and healthcare settings across the Southwest. The project offers an invaluable resource for reducing anxiety, supporting self expression and providing a much-needed distraction for children and their families.

Image: an original illustration by Tomasin Cuthbert

The Minny Stynker experience will also be made available to families unable to visit traditional theatre settings through donations to mobile libraries, schools and community spaces. Innovative creative technology will allow children to meet characters that leap off the page, and enjoy the creative efforts of sound design, music, voice actors and animated illustration.

Books will be available for purchase at the live show, and for each book sold another will be donated to a children’s ward or hospice across Bristol.

Running throughout May, the Crowdfunder campaign will raise funds for book publishing costs and digital development from augmented and virtual reality studio Zubr Curio.

The project has been developed alongside families caring for children with serious illnesses and is endorsed by University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust.

Kate, parent of a child involved in early research workshops, said: “Soap Soup brought a burst of creative energy and joy to our seven-year-old son and to our entire family. Our son is recovering from a bone marrow transplant and leukaemia, so can’t mix or go to school. He’s spent months in hospital and in bed. It was a huge boost to him, and wonderful for us to watch.”

Artistic director Tomasin Cuthbert said: “We are so excited to bring Minny Stynker to Bristol this May – both to Tobacco Factory Theatre audiences and to children receiving healthcare treatment across the city. This project is very close to our hearts and has emerged from some incredible and generous collaboration with healthcare providers and families of children with life-altering illnesses. It’s the first time we are incorporating digital media to this level in our work, and it’s had an extraordinary impact on both the live and digital experience.”

Emily Malins, arts programme manager at University Hospitals Bristol, said: “The Arts and Culture Programme for University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation fully supports Soap Soup Theatre’s exciting project Minny Stynker. Reports highlight the significant role creativity can play in improving health and wellbeing. More specifically, research shows that engaging in the arts can aid recovery, reducing pain relief and boosting mental cognition.”

Main image: © PAUL BLAKEMORE