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Questions asked by TEACHERS...
What makes Hobgoblin better than it’s competitors?
Before starting Hobgoblin, the founding members had all worked extensively in Theatre in Education and were very aware of what worked when performing for children and what was just patronizing. We have taken this perspective and translated it into our writing and performance style. Children are never talked down to in our plays and, as fact-filled as our plays are, they are never less than entertaining. The uniquely interactive sections of our plays produce a collaborative atmosphere with the children.
How much space do you need?
As a general rule, we need to use your school hall, but we will always adapt to the space you have. For each performance we place down a canvas floor-cloth which acts as the stage area and this requires approximately 4m from the back of the hall. Of course enough room for the children to sit comfortably on the floor up to and around the stage!
We are of course very aware that not every school has the luxury of a large communal space, and so will always endeavour to adapt our staging to the space you have. We do, however, find that classrooms are generally not big enough to perform the plays in.
Why do some of your shows have maximum audiences of 90?
The success and popularity of our KS2 History Shows is in large part due to their interactive nature. All of our shows have lots of audience interaction both during the play itself and in special "breakout" sections. For each child to fully benefit from this inclusive atmosphere we have found that 90 is the largest group that we can accommodate. Similarly, our drama workshops are designed for no more than 90 children!
Our KS1 Fairytales performances are not only a half-hour long play but are also followed by a half-hour drama workshop that further explores the themes of Traditional Tales. Again, we find that this is at its most effective with 90 children or fewer.
Why do you charge VAT?
All companies that exceed a certain annual turnover have to add Value Added Tax at a rate of 20% to their products. However, because of the special status of schools, most are able to claim the VAT back.
Why the petrol charge?
We are based in Surrey but we offer most of our plays all year round. With this flexibility comes the need to cover travel costs for each booking. We will always work out each petrol charge individually and we DO NOT profit from them, only charging what it costs us to get to you (and home again, of course!).
Our school is miles away - you wouldn’t come to us… would you?
Distance is no barrier to us visiting - we are frequent visitors to Dusseldorf in Germany and Muscat in Oman and we have performed all over England and Wales. However, for us to perform further afield, in Scotland and Ireland for example, we need to factor in extra travel time and hotel costs. If you are located some distance from us it is well worth seeing if other schools in your area are interested in us visiting so that these extra costs can be shared.
Due to the success of our annual visit to the International School Dusseldorf, we are currently looking to expand our “international arm,” and would be very happy to hear from any English Speaking schools abroad.
What do you need from us?
Aside from a hall and some children – nothing! We are completely self-sufficient. It is useful for us to have a bench or some chairs to put props and costumes on backstage and some shows will require a power socket as we often use recorded music and sound effects. We never refuse a nice cup of tea!
How do we pay?
We would ask that a cheque or BACS payment be prepared for us either on or before the day of performance. We do not require a deposit.
Our topic isn’t covered by you… why?
We are constantly adding new shows to our programme. If you believe there is a topic that we should be covering and are not – please, let us know!
But we don’t “do drama” in our school! Why should we book you?
We believe that our shows are inspirational, educational and entertaining. By bringing a topic “to life” before your students, you will be allowing the children to empathise with the subject matter, better retain facts and provide them with the “WOW!” factor. For example, we find that children who find it difficult to engage in the classroom will be much better able to express their ideas and knowledge, if they don’t realise they are being taught, i.e. watching a play or taking part in a Drama Workshop.
What is your cancellation policy?
As our diary gets filled fairly far in advance we do need to operate a cancellation policy to protect ourselves financially (we still pay our actors whether a booking goes ahead or not!). See our Terms and Conditions for our full cancellation policy.
Questions asked by STUDENTS...
How did Hobgoblin start?
Hobgoblin Theatre Company was started in 2007 by Dan, Hannah and James out of a common love for performing, working with children and world history. We have been thrilled with the popularity of our shows and are very proud of the reputation we have earned. We endeavour to continue growing this successful business and look forward to entertaining and educating children long into the future!
Do you provide work experience placements?
Unfortunately at the moment this is not possible. Each of our plays is written for three actors and only three people can fit in our vans! Aside from this, the safeguarding of children is paramount at Hobgoblin and we require all of our employees to have DBS checks. Hobgoblin is run from a modestly sized but very busy office and we do not have the resources to provide training or shadowing positions. As we continue to grow, we aim for this to be a possibility in the future.
What positions do you have in your Theatre Company?
Hobgoblin is run by its Company Directors: Dan, Hannah and James. We are responsible for the writing and directing of the plays, mounting the productions and the significant volume of administration! Throughout the year we employ other actors on either 9 month, 6 month or ad hoc contracts to fulfill our needs.
Where do you find your actors?
All of our actors are auditioned by us. We usually advertise our auditions on Spotlight, though we also receive email submissions from actors throughout the year.
Where do you get your plays from?
All of our plays have been written by us. We work very hard to ensure that every single show is entertaining and educational. They are all written with the National Curriculum firmly in mind.
Can I watch a performance?
Due to the safeguarding of children, it is not possible for members of the public to watch any of our productions in a school. We do however get asked occasionally to perform in public spaces which we will advertise on the website.
What do children get out of a Hobgoblin performance?
We believe that drama is an invaluable teaching aide, especially for Primary School aged children. Not only are our plays inspiring, educational and entertaining, but by taking a subject out of the classroom children are exposed to different ways of learning. Children are often more receptive to learning if they do not realise they are being taught!
How do I go about setting up my own TIE Company?
Well, we’re not going to tell you that, are we?
Oh, alright then… You need to have a Unique Selling Point and a passion. Just like us!
ACTORS looking for work...
We are always interested in meeting new actors. If you are energetic, enthusiastic and hard-working we would like to hear from you.
Send your CV and headshot to firstname.lastname@example.org stating clearly where you live, whether you hold a current DBS check and whether you are a driver or non-driver.
For specific tour castings we advertise on Spotlight so keep your eyes open for us. We can also be found on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Teachers, actors and students - your questions are answered here...