The Brief : 

Turn a practical archive room in the basement of the Library of Birmingham into a magical secret room where children can search and discover the lost ancient book of Arabian Nights.

Acquis provided full technical production management for this ambitious education project produced in partnership by Coney, Birmingham Repertory Theatre and The Library of Birmingham. A project to inspire and delight over 300 Birmingham school children and their teachers saw us at our creative best.

"Casting primary school children as heroes in ‘responsive narratives’ offers a unique adventure in learning – but only if we maintain the fiction" Tom Bowtell writing for The Guardian Theatre Blog

Working within the creative team of director, producer, set designer and sound designer, acquis brought Coney’s Arabian Nights to life.

On a day like any other, the class begin to watch an unusually boring video on the history of concrete when a technical fault occurs- the screen pixelates and the face of a Genie appears, asking the pupils for help: once a major character in Arabian Nights, he has disappeared from modern versions and his very existence is at risk.

Speaking to the class via emails and video messages, the genie helps them discover the stories of Arabian Nights and embark on a journey to Library of Birmingham to discover the magical secret room where the ancient book was lost… Discovering that the pages have crumbled to dust, the children must create new stories about the genie, complete the book in their classroom and return it to the Library so the stories can be shared. With a sprinkle of magic, the genie thanks the class by having their stories performed by professional actors on stage at the REP theatre.

In delivery of Arabian Nights, Acquis realised both the set and sound design of the secret room and provided stage management and technical support of the shows in both the library and the Rep.

"The concept, creativity within it and attention to detail was excellent and great to be part of delivering. Fantastic team of people, with genuine ambition and skill to create an excellent and immersive theatre experience for children." Katie Banks acquismedia

"I’ve been lying to children for six years. It began small – a tale of talking cats here, a ruse about astronauts there – but things escalated and thousands of children have now been exposed to my wanton fictions. I should be clear: I’m a good liar (in the moral sense) and advocate Vonnegut’s religion of Bokononism which states that harmless untruths can “make you brave and kind and healthy and happy”. I believe that the untruths I create with the theatre company Coney through our participatory education programme, Adventures in Learning (AiL), aren’t merely harmless, but actually do good."