Time for Reflection on Planet Munch
Date: September 6, 2023
In a vibrant blend of art, music, and puppetry, the Planet Munch tour recently swept through Hertfordshire, leaving behind a trail of smiles, inspiration, and invaluable lessons in healthy living. This engaging tour, generously supported by Arts Council England, ventured into schools and libraries in areas with traditionally low artistic engagement opportunities. The results were nothing short of remarkable.
Building Audiences and Accessibility
One of the tour’s primary goals was to cultivate a new and enthusiastic audience for live events in Hertfordshire’s libraries, which had not traditionally been hotspots for theatrical performances. The funding from Arts Council England enabled Planet Munch to offer tickets at highly accessible prices, encouraging a surge in attendance.
Approximately 150 tickets were sold across all performances, selling out in many libraries, with the potential for additional sales on the day at some locations. These advanced bookings helped generate income for Hertfordshire Libraries, underlining the financial contribution of the show.
Engaging Online Audiences
Recognizing the importance of reaching a wider audience, Planet Munch took a creative approach. Families who booked tickets online received links to a YouTube tutorial video from the Planet Munch Puppets YouTube Channel. This video guided them in creating a wonderful gym ribbon, which they could use to actively participate in the show. The fact that children arrived at the shows with these pre-prepared ribbons suggests a resounding success in engaging online audiences.
Feedback and Impact
Pre-show Glamour Shoot
The impact of the Planet Munch tour extended beyond numbers and finances. It contributed to the health and wellbeing of young children and their families, aligning with the libraries’ strategic aim to improve health and wellbeing in their communities. The initial concerns that the puppets might frighten children were dispelled as audiences, including library staff, were captivated by the puppeteers’ engaging and encouraging performances.
Feedback from Cheshunt Library exemplifies the tour’s positive influence. Children and families eagerly arrived for the show, and any apprehension quickly melted away as they interacted with the talented actors. The show, filled with energy and kindness, delivered an important message of perseverance and healthy eating.
Audiences were encouraged to participate by singing, dancing, and sharing tomato-related jokes. The actors skillfully interacted with the children, fostering creativity and vocabulary development. The show concluded with a carnival of ribbons and a chance for children to meet their favorite puppets, creating lasting memories.
The Future: A National Tour and Expanding Impact
As the Planet Munch team contemplates the future, thoughts turn to a potential National Tour. The success and impact of this Hertfordshire tour have laid the groundwork for an exciting expansion of their work.
Currently, funding supports the development of a place-based creative outreach model with schools and venues in Dacorum, thanks to Dacorum Borough Council’s support. This initiative aims to inspire healthy lifestyle choices by providing nutritional education resources to schools and families. Additionally, workshops inspired by the show content will culminate in performances in schools, venues, or libraries, further connecting young audiences with creative spaces and community resources.
Join the Journey
If you are interested in partnering with Planet Munch Puppets on an Arts Council England Touring Application, hosting a performance, or facilitating a workshop, now is the time to get in touch. With ongoing work in Hertfordshire and plans to expand into other counties, Planet Munch Puppets is creating a common culture through shared creative learning experiences, ensuring that art, music, and healthy living continue to flourish in communities across the region and beyond.
Big thanks to all for your support, hard work, advice and creativity.
Planet Munch Puppeteers at South Oxhey Library