Tell Tale Hearts

Children's Touring Theatre Company

Unlock the gift of imagination...

The performance and particpation hopes to unlock in each child the gift of imagination outside of the structured learning framework that is both real and positive.

Current/Future Productions
Milling Times
The Snow Queen
From Here To There
Suitcase Stories

Past Productions
Space Hoppers
Beneath The Waves
A Story For All Seasons
The Little Match Girl
Arctic Antics

Current/Future Productions

In our productions we pride ourselves in taking the particpants to a magical world which they can explore and experience in their own unique way.


Crunchy, sweet, tart, gooey,
runny, sour, thick, yummy!

"Beautiful performance, well done!."
Nursery worker, Crosland Moor Day Nursery


A dance theatre show that celebrates all that is messy at meal times!

"Loved the spaghetti section - really inventive, got everyone involved & great music. Summed up the whole show!"
Audience member, LBT, September 2012

Yummm! is a celebration of food seen through children’s eyes using dance, live music, quirky design and some amusing eating utensils. A highly imaginative production where tables can dance; plates spin; and the audience have a chance to join in with the dinner time rituals!


This is a fantastic introduction to dance and theatre for young children and their families and the company’s first collaboration with international dance artist & choreographer, Pauline Mayers and international composer Matt Marks.

This piece explores different taste sensations through dance and physical theatre, the rhythms & musicality in onomatopoeia and the funny eating habits of young children.


"Fantastic! First time our 2 year old EVER sat still for more than 2 minutes!"
Audience member premier at LBT, September 2012

Director: Natasha Holmes
Choreographer: Pauline Mayers
Composer/Musical Director: Matt Marks
Designer: Helen Thomas
Costume Designer: Emma Louise Hopkinson
Lighting Designer: Lars Jensen
Original Dancers/Performers: Amy Butler, Alice Cade, Carla Piscitelli
Technical Stage Manager: Charlotte Carson
Photography: Amanda Crowther
Film Promo: Richard Swainson

There are two versions of this show; an early year's (under 4s version) and a longer 4+ production.

Technical requirements:

  • Performance space of approx 6m x 6m x 3.2m (height)
  • NB: We are currently looking at an audience restriction of 45 children + adults. Overall max of 90 for family shows or 60 children max for school shows.

Want to see the show? - Tour schedule for spring 2014 download.

Want to book the show? - Available for touring autumn 2013/spring 2014.

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Milling Times

"Fabulous way to engage children in history and heritage venue-should be done everywhere!"

Milling Times!

Site specific Production for Worsbrough Mill Museum.

As the water wheel turns we will take you back in time to some of the historical events that took place in this unique working mill.

'Hell's Bells! There's trouble at Mill!'

Give Ann Shaw a hand to knead her dough and bake the best bread this side of Yorkshire for the village fete; join John Wagstaff, the miller’s man, in his search for his missing sack of grain and see if you can solve the mystery of the mill!

Fun, highly interactive performances bring to life some of the historical daily activities, songs and stories of the mill. You will have the chance to see the mill working as part of the performance as well as create your own version of the mill mouse!

"Fantastic-real great mix of storytelling, songs, games, interaction, hands on & humour. Fab for adults too!"

Milling Times
Writer/Director: Natasha Holmes
Performers: Ann Shaw - Simone Lewis
John Wagstaff - Jake England Johns/Jon Dixon
Costumes: Izabella Moxon
Historical Researcher: Catherine Roebuck
Photography by: Gavin Joynt

Produced in a partnership with Worsbrough Mill Museum; Barnsley MBC Arts and Museums Service and is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

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The Snow Queen

Created in collaboration with the Civic, Barnsley and Lawrence Batley theatre, Huddersfield.

"The snow flakes grew bigger and bigger; at last they looked like huge white wolves; suddenly they sprang aside. The big sleigh stopped, and the one who was driving stood up. It was a lady so tall and straight, so shining white. It was the Snow Queen."

The Snow Queen

A new adaptation of The Snow Queen, by Hans C. Andersen. A highly visual, musical production for families that involves the audience in a unique and thrilling way…

"…audience participation is not merely limited to shouting out. The kids take to the stage for sleigh–rides, play games of ring–a–roses in an enchanted garden, and even enact a solemn coronation for a new generation of snow monarchs."
Alfred Hickling, The Guardian

The Snow Queen

Join the mischievous sprites as they artfully recreate the story of Gerda and Kaj, transporting the audience from an icy landscape, through floral glades, palace towers, deep forests and gloomy caves to a glittering and shattering conclusion.

"It was an absolutely enthralling performance!"
Fran Brooks and her 5 year old son, Luca for Babyworld

"A vibrant, participatory treat for anyone with younger children."
Susan Darlington, Morning Star Online

Booking details:

  • Age group: 4+ and families
  • Space requirements: auditorium minimum of 12mx 10m x 4m
  • Theatre venues only
  • Maximum audience size dependent on venue layout
  • Show length: 1 hour 30 mins ‐ Total running time with interval is 1 hour 50 mins

The original production was presented in the main house at both – The Civic, Barnsley and the Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield for Christmas 2011.

To watch an edited promo of the show, please click here.

Screenshot of the Snow Queen promo video
Writers: Jan Jeans & Natasha Holmes
Director: Natasha Holmes
Composer/Musical Director: Michael Szpakowski
Designer: Sophia Lovell Smith
Visual Artist/Design Assistant: Helen Thomas
Lighting Director: Lars Jensen
Assistant Director: Deborah Sanderson
Stage Manager: Rebecca Watson
Costume Assistant/Dresser: Izabella Moxon
Original Cast: Julia Gwynne, Susan Momoko Hingley, Jake England-Johns, Derek Elwood, Hannah Waters
Photography: Gavin Joynt
Film Promo: Richard Swainson

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From Here To There

News Flash!

Tell Tale Hearts tour to India! From Here To There is touring in London, Oxfordshire and Warwick in Jan/Feb 2012 prior to a 3 week tour to theatres, schools and pre schools in India! For more news on our experiences in India please follow the director&39;s blog!

"Perfect! Sophisticated in its simplicity!"
Kate Cross, The Egg, Bath Theatre Royal

"A smile is a bridge from ear to ear!"

Created in collaboration with The Lawrence Batley Theatre, Huddersfield.
For children aged from 18 months - 4 years.

Once there were two children
One just loved to build things
Up… Up… Up…
The other loved to knock things down
Bang! Clang!

From Here To There

A show that's all about bridges! Bridges that get built and knocked down, bridges you can climb over and crawl under. Magic bridges, bridges that tell stories of hungry trolls and greedy goats. Bridges where people can meet and if they're lucky, make a friend!

Using rhythm and vocal play, shoe boxes, card and the world of the imagination, two quite independent individuals discover ways to play together and reach each other.

"The ideas were wonderful, very engaging for the target group, totally opening up imaginary journeys for little ones."
Ruth Churchill Dower, Earlyarts & Isaacs UK

From Here To There

This is an intimate show and a fabulous introduction to theatre for the very young. Performances are followed by a 'freeplay' session giving the children an opportunity to explore some of the materials and build their own bridges!

"The best performance we have engaged in – will definitely spread the word!"
Manager, Kingpins nursery

Available from autumn 2010 and can tour festivals, nurseries, childrens' centres, and theatres.

N. B. There is an audience restriction on this show to ensure maximum impact for younger years. Please contact the company for details.

Director: Natasha Holmes
Designer: Natasha Holmes / Catherine Baines
Musical Director: Michael Szpakowski
Lighting Design/Production management: Lars Jensen
Original Performers: Simone Lewis & Noel Byrne
Performers 2011: Emma Hirons & Grant Stimpson
Photography: Gavin Joynt
Video: Ben Donnelly

PDF Tour Schedule
PDF Promo
An excerpt of the show - If you have trouble viewing, please contact the office for a DVD.

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Suitcase Stories

In collaboration with Sheffield Theatres

"You know, this reminds me of a very fiery story. It was told to me by a wonderful family I met on my travels; We were snuggled around a toasty fire cooking fish for supper, just as we are now! The story begins in a deep, dark cave where all that can be heard is the sound of breathing…"

Suitcase Stories

A well travelled lady captivates her audience with stories she has gathered on her journeys around the world, from Yorkshire, through Poland and on to Peru! Using only the contents of her suitcase she creates landscapes of mountains and jungles, costumes for shepherds and kings and finds unique ways to bring characters to life. The children become a part of the story by helping our teller to create waves of water, make the sound of an army, hide away their dancing fairies and organise a troop of monkeys.

Tell Tale Hearts were recently commissioned by Sheffield Theatres to devise and produce an interactive storytelling show for children in Key Stage One. The performance is intended to compliment the 2008 Year of Reading and to inspire and enhance children's knowledge and love of stories.

The show was directed by Tell Tale Hearts' Associate Director Louise Clark and is performed by long standing member of the company Simone Lewis. Suitcase Stories toured schools and libraries throughout Sheffield during October 2008 and June 2009. For more information on the show and to book future performances please contact us here at Tell Tale Hearts.

Director: Louise Clark
Designer: Jo MacFarlane
Performer: Simone Lewis or Natasha Holmes

"Made me feel like a child again, absolutely brilliant!"
Key stage 1 teacher, Rotherham

PDF Tour Promo

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Past Productions


Join us on our new inter-planetary adventure!

"Look, oh look, high up in the sky.
Here comes a comet flying by.
On a bike you can pedal, on a ship you can sail,
But we like to travel on a comet's tail."

Jan Jeans, poet & writer: SpaceHoppers


Strap on your space suit and float up to the stars; your space odyssey has begun! Defying gravity we hold on tightly to the billowing tail of a hurtling comet. Together, we steer deeper and deeper into the glittering night on our galactic journey.

Touch, tease and tickle the floating gases into shape as you help bring a new planet to life! The silence of space is broken by a symphony of stars chiming a note of welcome.

Gently floating onwards we land on a raw surface and spend time marvelling at the unfamiliar sights, fumbling and feeling our way across the lunar landscape. And what is that sound that fills our ear?

A promenade style performance for 3–7 year olds combining beautifully designed installations, performance, puppetry, live music and now poetry to create a magical experience for young children and their families.

Director: Natasha Holmes
Design: Sophia Lovell Smith
Music/Composer: Michael Szpakowski
Lighting & Production: Lars Jensen
Poet/Lyrics: Jan Jeans
Assistant Director/Dramaturg: Louise Clark
Photography: Gavin Joynt & Louise Clark

PDF Tour Promo
PDF Tour Schedule
PDF Education Resource Pack
Promo Video

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The Little Match Girl

A primary Christmas show for KS1&2 by Tell Tale Hearts and Figment Theatre.

"As the fireworks finished, the brightest star in the sky suddenly twinkled, flickered and fell to earth like a shooting star. The little match girl sat watching it fall, drawing a long firey tail behind it in the night sky."
Hans C. Andersen

The Little Match Girl

This version of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale, entwined with other visionary tales of hope from cultures around the world, focused on literacy and the 'Excellence and Enjoyment' initiative. The aim of the show was to provide high quality artistic experiences and encourage creative learning approaches with a view to improving literacy.

Techniques in storytelling used were puppetry, drama, masks, clowns and music.

  • Promotes Drama, Literacy, Social History and stories from other cultures
  • Links to National Curriculum -Literacy Development, Social History, Art and Excellence and Enjoyment
  • Provides a high quality artistic experience in schools
  • Allows young children to explore stories form other cultures
  • Actively brings traditional tales to life
  • A 50 minute performance
Devised & performed by: Natasha Holmes or Michael Addison

"Extremely moving and very effective. Book them now for next year."
KS2 teacher, Rotherham

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A Story For All Seasons

A participatory theatre show for KS1 pupils on the cyclical nature of the seasons.

"Now came the autumn. The leaves in the forest turned yellow and brown; the wind caught them, so that they danced about; and up in the air it was very cold. The clouds hung low, heavy with hail and snowflakes, and on the fence stood the raven, crying 'croak, croak!'"
'The Ugly Duckling', H. C. Andersen

A story for all seasons

A Story For All Seasons was developed in consultation with a group of children from a primary school in Leeds. Loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling, the mesmerising installations and engaging puppets are accompanied by an inspirational soundscape designed to excite and involve young audiences.

The participation element of the project brings nature into the heart of the experience as the audience physically journeys through the seasons. This show is a wonderful chance for children to discover the rich tapestry of nature together with their teachers and carers as they reach for a rainbow, jump on stepping stones and follow the journey of the ugly duckling through the magical transformation of nature.

A 45 minute highly interactive performance.

  • Promotes 'Excellence through Enjoyment'
  • Begins with the 'sun' and ends with the 'moon' and is compatible with 'Light and Dark' curriculum activity
  • Allows children to experience the seasons through tactile installations and participation
  • Creates a sense of fun around science and nature through game play
  • Comes fully equipped and is therefore easy to host
  • Delivers a high quality production at an affordable rate
  • Includes follow-up teaching activities

"They were enchanted from the moment they swept onto the set to the second they crept off it. Excellent."
Richard Oulton, Headteacher, Grange Infants

N.B. Because of the participatory nature of the experience, each performance has increased impact through personal contact and is restricted to groups of 40.

Director: Natasha Holmes
Sound designer: Michael Szpakowski
Designer: Sophia Lovell Smith
Technical producer: Lars Jensen
Performers/puppeteers: Nichola Jennings / Luke Dickson / Pavla Beier

Visit: Online slide show

"An outstanding example of what can be achieved when artistic and educational aims are intrinsically linked in the development of a piece of theatre. The piece is well suited to infant schools, nurseries and community settings and will raise the spirits of everyone who is lucky enough to experience it. We are pleased to recommend this piece without reservation."
Wes Lawrance, Manager, N. E. Lincolnshire Council's Music and Performing Arts Service

PDF A story for all seasons

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Beneath The Waves

Take part in an aquatic adventure where you can help…

"I walked beside the evening sea and dreamed a dream that could not be; the waves that plunged along the shore said only: Dreamer, dream no more."
George William Curtis

Beneath The Waves

…moor the boats, unload the fish, climb aboard, hoist the sails and finally set off on a magical sea voyage where sea life emerges from the strangest of places! For this is no ordinary boat, and these are no ordinary sailors, a mystical sea shanty is sung as you leave port, and soon you will journey beneath the waves!

Accompanied by live music and composed soundscape this wonderful new production from Tell Tale Hearts also incorporates video animation and projection into a beautifully designed show which brings the magic of the underwater world to your fingertips!

For 3 to 7 year olds and their families. Please note because of the participatory nature of the show there is a restriction on audience numbers. Please contact the company for more details.

"Excellent. 'Fishytastic' for both children and adults. We had a whale of a time from boarding to disembarking."
Richard Oulton, Headteacher, Grange Infants

Beneath The Waves
Director/writer: Natasha Holmes
Video artist/Composer: Michael Szpakowski
Designer & maker: Sophia Lovell Smith
Design Assistant: Jo McFarlane
Lighting Design/set construction: Lars Jensen
Performers: Bill: Katie Matthews / Ted: Simone Lewis / Molly: Louise Clark / Sam: Lars Jensen

"Hello – My two year old daughter Iris really enjoyed your beautiful play at 3.30pm at Eureka. She has not stopped talking about Molly and wanted to make a fimo model of a mermaid when we got home. She had wanted to dress up as a mermaid to wear on the train to Halifax that day too. You were all excellent and we were both spellbound, best wishes to you all."
Rebecca & Iris Palmer

PDF Beneath the waves - press release

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Once again Tell Tale Hearts have collaborated with Figment Theatre to produce an enchanting Christmas storytelling show for 5 to 11 year olds and their families (Key stage 1 & 2 for schools).

"Today I bake, tomorrow brew, the next I'll have the young Queen's child. Ha! Glad am I that no one knew that Rumpelstiltskin I am styled."
The Brothers Grimm (1857)


Based on the famous tale of 'Rumpelstiltskin' by the brothers Grimm, this is a story of a simple miller and his hapless daughter, a treasure-obsessed King and a strange impish creature who can spin gold from straw (at a price) all set in the enchanted woods of Eastern Europe.

Travelling storytellers and musicians weave a comic tale of pride, mystery and greed using puppetry, drama, clowning and live music. Come and join us in the frosty glade as the story unravels!

A 55 minute performance.

  • Promotes Drama, Literacy, and Social History
  • Links to National Curriculum -Literacy Development, Social History, Art and Excellence and Enjoyment
  • Provides a high quality artistic experience in schools
  • Actively brings traditional tales to life
  • Promotes live music and songs from other cultures
Designed by: Jo McFarlane
Puppet made by: Amy Hirst
Devised and performed by: Michael Addison / Natasha Holmes / Maggie O'Keefe

"It was fantastic! All the children were amazed by the performance and couldn't stop talking about how much they enjoyed it!"
Field Lane Junior and infant school

PDF Rumpelstiltskin - press release

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Arctic Antics

Arctic Antics is a hugely original and exciting show created specifically for performance in a portable Black Light Theatre.

Two inept explorers are challenging nature's most gruelling conditions to discover the strange creatures that live in the Arctic ice cap and the wonders of the night sky. But human trespassers can create mayhem, and the secrets of what lies beneath the frozen ice gets chance to have an airing when the temperature heats up!

Arctic Antics

Using the stunning visual effects possible with a complete Black Box theatre and UV lighting this is a fantastic chance to programme a unique theatre experience for your younger & family audiences.

Whilst this project offers a departure to the company's usual participatory style there are still many of the elements that have made our work so popular in the past; great clowning, puppetry and live music this time introducing musician; Lisa Oliver into the fray!

Commissioned by 'The Music & Performing Arts Service', of N E Lincolnshire Council.

Director: Natasha Holmes
Designer: Jo MacFarlane
Technical/Lighting Designer: Lars Jensen
Musician: Lisa Oliver
Performers: Louise Clark, Emma Nicholson

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