Animating ‘Echoes of the Past'

Animating ‘Echoes of the Past'

John Low in front of the Priest’s House Museum, drawn by student from St Michael’s School (Photo credit: Alastair Nisbet)

A Wimborne Stationers shop, boarded up for 30 years, has been brought to life in animated form by a group of students at St Michael’s Middle School, Wimborne, as part of Wimborne Community Theatre’s Echoes of the Past project commissioned by the Priest’s House Museum.

Pupils made both screen-based and Victorian zoetrope animations to tell the story of John Low’s shop and how it went on to become an award-winning museum.

Working with artists Nic Rawling, Alastair Nisbet and Hannah Small, the 12 and 13 year old students recreated the story of John Low whose boarded-up shop became a time capsule – and its contents a nationally important collection.

They drew and voiced the main characters, John Low and museum founder Hilda Coles, brought the museum’s mummified cat to life and animated a Victorian lady writing “to my love” on an 1860s Valentine.

Alastair Nisbet, animator and producer from arts organisation ScreenPLAY explained:
Nic who performs internationally with the Paper Cinema makes a unique type of live animation so as well as drawing and voicing the characters in traditional film sequences, the group have worked with him to make four Victorian style zoetrope animations.
The zoetropes and films will form an installation for the promenade theatre event Echoes of the Past which takes place in June.

Read more about the project.

Ron Jenkinson, Headteacher at St Michael’s said the artists’ mini residency had given students a taste of life in the creative industries.

They have drawn, storyboarded, voice recorded, filmed and above all worked together as a team to make some beautiful work for a real world project and that’s been a great experience for them.


Watch two videos made by young people

Watch two videos made by young people

As part of our project to archive Wimborne Community Theatre’s history, Gifted and Talented students at Allenbourn School, Wimborne and St Michael’s School, Colehill  worked with Alastair Nisbet and Sharon Hayden, of ScreenPLAY, to recreate as animated films, stories from two of WCT’s earlier productions.  This is a way for young people today to reinterpret stories performed by adults and young people, nearly twenty years ago.

Connor Elliot –Murray (Year 8, St.Michael’s Middle School) said:
‘I took part in the ‘Tale of Hours’ screen play . . . it was an incredible experience for my workmates and I.  I learned a lot about how much effort goes into a making an animation – I learnt how to use a very advanced animation program. I was the voice of Jack in ‘Tale of Hours’ and it was so informative and fun . . .The way we did the play was very effective. The green screen was interesting because I had not heard of it but I did not know how it worked.

Alastair Nisbet, animation mentor: We were impressed not just with the drawing, acting and technical ability of these students – but with the way they wholeheartedly embraced the project, took on the story and worked together as a production team, sharing the many roles involved in making a film. 

‘Viola and Alice’ by Allenbourn students is an adaptation of opening scenes from ‘Voyages’ performed at Kingston Lacy in 1991 and 1996.  It reveals the story of Viola Bankes, daughter of Henrietta Bankes, owner of Kingston Lacy House, on the day King Edward Vll came to tea in 1905.  Nobody will tell Viola what has happened to Alice, her favourite maid – or her father, who went travelling to India. . .

Viola & Alice from Alastair Nisbet on Vimeo.

‘A Tale Of Hours’ by St Michael’s students adapts two scenes from the 1993 production which was performed in and around Wimborne Minster.   It is a magical tale about a young boy and his grandmother who were led back through time by the Quarter Jack, when he stepped down from the Minster tower to introduce them to many notable characters in Wimborne’s history.  Students from St Michael’s School took part in the original production, playing the part of Saxon Nuns, which current students are recreating.

A Tale of Hours from Alastair Nisbet on Vimeo.