‘The Seven Ravens’ Touring 2023

Available to tour from April 2023

Our story is based on the Brothers Grimm tale which tells of a young woman who discovers, from overheard village gossip, that she had seven brothers who were cursed and turned into Ravens when she was a tiny infant. Despite her parents pleas to stay at home, she resolved to set off on a quest to rescue them. However, unlike the Grimms version, the person at the centre of our version of the story is a young girl, called Ada, who is unhappy at school and who finds herself visited by a Raven and thrust into a dream world of quests, feathers and a Glass Mountain.

Ada sets off on her quest

‘The Seven Ravens’ was first shown as a work in progress/proof of concept, [working title ‘The Keeper’] at the Hidden Door Festival, In Between Space, The State Cinema on Saturday 2nd June 2018

The show was presented hourly from 2 pm to 9pm and, though suitable for family audiences – it enjoyed great success with the Festival’s mainly adult audiences.

Images from Hidden Door

Audience Feedback

  • This has an enormous amount of potential . Many interesting issues presented and performed in an engaging and visually attractive way.
  • I [name given] liked everything on display, thank you
  • I liked the materials used to create the piece. Reminded me of the film Coraline.
  • Use the carpet shapes more! Also, wanna see those ravens!
  • Loved the light!! And I liked the felt landscape.
  • Loved the colourful felt landscape, the puppet, iceblock, story sound, light, words, and performance. Well done – very engrossing.
  • Love the intimacy and directness of the performance.
  • Really liked the puppet and felt landscape.
  • Great carpet exploration and love the north star 🙂
  • Very evocative and imaginative piece.
  • Was really drawn in when puppet appears … just want to know how it ends! 

Background Information about the making of The Seven Ravens

The setting for the show is a huge needle felted landscape upon which Ada’s journey unfolds.

A key character, The Keeper, is the creature who guards the Glass Mountain where the Raven Brothers are held and, in the traditional Grimms’ version, he is a rather friendly gnome. However, The Keeper is not really what he seems. He is a collector, sole desire is to capture the images of all it encounters – and to keep them within the walls of the Glass Mountain forever.

The design and creation of this creature for Hidden Door 2018 explored how the function of housing the microcomputer and its camera might influence the design of the final form of the table top puppet. It also explored how to make the creature move, interact with other puppets and people (audience members) it meets.

There is an obvious connection to be made between The Keeper and his Glass Mountain and social media, online identity theft, and the digital rights of children and adults; this is not an oversight or happenstance. The setting for The Keeper and his mountain will be within an updated Grimms’ fairy tale world of digital exploration, exploitation and experimentation.

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Exploring a way to make the puppet…

The installation element of this stage of the work involved creating the glass mountain in which images were ‘stored’ and displayed, creating some of the artefacts and environments of the future play, exploring some modern day parallels to the original story and working out how these might fit into and inform a narrative, exploring some of the data around young people’s use of digital products, issues around safety and the checks, balances and measures they use for personal safety online.

Why This Story?
The inspiration for The Keeper came from several sources. The primary one is the story itself – a strong female protagonist who rescues her seven brothers turns the usual fairytale fodder of ‘damsel in distress’ on its head. The Keeper character is a simple and age appropriate exploration of the issue of sharing images online without realising that once they are posted control is lost.

Touring 2023
Tragic Carpet’s ‘The Seven Ravens’ is set in the modern day, having as its lead puppet a young girl, Ada, who after having a disturbing visit form a Raven, sets off on a quest to find the brothers she never knew she had.

The show is suitable for primary school aged children and their families and is available from April 2023 as part of Puppet Animation Scotland’s Puppetry and Visual Theatre Touring Programme.

Original Creative Team Credits for presentation at Hidden Door

Freda O’Byrne – lead artist and creator

Kim Edgar – composer, musician, singer

Elspeth Chapman – designer and puppeteer

Pete Searle – production manager, lighting designer

Euan Jackson Creative Technician

Rikki Guy – Creative Developer

Needle Felting Helpers

Ingrid Tait

Ewa Wawreniuk

Lana Svirejeva-Hopkins

Gregor Fergie

Supporters and Supporting Organisations

Edinburgh Hacklab

Edinburgh Ice Company

Prewired Code Club

Hidden Door 2018

Edinburgh Tool Library / Tribe Porty

Links

The State Cinema Leith

The Brothers Grimm

Raspberry Pi Foundation

Raspberry Pi Projects

Pi camera projects