A student project involving children’s author, Vivian French, has blossomed into an interactive children's event at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh.

Third year students from the Performance Costume programme at Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) have written and performed Alien Adventures, four stories about extra-terrestrial creations originally conceived in their second year of study and showcased at the ECA Fashion Show 2014.

After the performance, the students helped the children with alien mask making, introducing them to the basic skills of using costume and props to bring characters to life.

Alien Adventures started as an exercise in designing costumes for personal narratives, as Megan Baker (Programme Director for Performance Costume) explains…

“Throughout the Performance Costume programme, our students design for characters from chosen texts and plays. For the ‘Alien’ brief, I wanted them to explore writing and creating their own narratives and characters for performance. Initially, they worked in collaboration with Film & TV and Animation students to develop characters and a simple story for a two-minute animation. They then went on to develop their own, child-friendly stories for children’s theatre or television, mentored by children’s author, Vivian French, who lectures on the Illustration programme at ECA. She helped them develop their characters and structure their narratives for presentation in an illustrated picture book and, in the case of one character per student, in our annual fashion and costume show.

However, the students didn’t want it to stop there. Having written the stories, developed the characters and made the costumes, they decided to present their stories and characters in front of children as a theatre production at the Scottish Storytelling Centre. They linked four of their stories together, which they devised, directed and performed themselves in front of a sell-out audience followed by a hands-on workshop with the children. The children were mesmerised throughout”.