He’s Behind You! The guide to writing the AspireTwitterPanto – 51 days to go!

Now with 11 characters, 5 named contributors and some intriguing character dynamics shaping up, HE’S BEHIND YOU! Is now up and running.

You can contribute here:


The first week of the project involves the creation of characters, the Panto world and some initial thoughts on potential songs.

The second week will start generating monologues, dialogues and other Panto-type communications. So if you fancy contributing to what characters say and do, now’s the time to start contributing.

We look forward to hearing from you!

He’s Behind You! – the script scrapbook of the AspireTwitterPanto

Here’s the place to add monologue, dialogue, songs and other utterances between the characters of the He’s Behind You Aspire Twitter Panto!

Please note you can only add script belonging to characters who have been identitified in the project ‘bible’ found here:


Once upon a time there was a very kind, considerate and generous Banker called Heinous. This may come as a surprise dear viewer, but there was a time when bankers were the pillars of society, when to be a banker was to be a sign of civility and nobility, when everyone loved a local banker and when the most honourable thing one could aspire to was a career in banking. Yes, strange, but true, and our heroine, Heinous, was a banker set in that tradition. She was brave, she was fearless, she was beautiful. Quite simply, she was a banker.

(thanks to Cabaret)

Piggies make the world go around
…the world go around
…the world go around.
Piggies makes the world go around
They make the world go ’round.

A mark, a yen, a buck or a pound
…a buck or a pound
…a buck or a pound.
Is all that makes the world go around
That clinking, clanking sound…
Can make the world go ’round

Piggy piggy piggy piggy
Piggy piggy piggy piggy
Piggy piggy piggy

If you happen to rich
And you feel like a night’s entertainment
You can pay for a gay escapade.
If you happen to be rich and alone
And you need a companion
You can ring (ting-a-ling) for the maid.
If you happen to be rich
And you find you are left by your lover,
And you moan and you groan quite a lot
You can take it on the chin,
Call a cab and begin to recover
On your 14-karat yacht! WHAT!?

Piggies make the world go around
…the world go around
…the world go around.
Piggies make the world go aroung
Of that we both are sure…
*rasberry sound* on being poor!

Piggy piggy piggy piggy
Piggy piggy piggy piggy
Piggy piggy piggy

When you haven’t any coal in the stove
And you freeze in the winter
And you curse to the wind at your fate.
When you haven’t any shoes on your feet,
Your coat’s thin as paper,
And you look 30 pounds underweight
When you go to get a word of advice
From the fat little pastor,
He will tell you to love evermore.
But when hunger comes to rap,
rat-a-tat rat-a-tat at the window
*knock knock* (at the window)
Who’s there? (hunger) oh, hunger!!
See how love flies out the door…

For, piggies make the world go around
…the world go around
…the world go around.
Piggies make the world go ’round
The clinking, clanking sound of…
Piggy piggy piggy piggy
Piggy piggy piggy piggy
Get a little, get a little
Piggy piggy piggy piggy
Mark, a yen, a buck or a pound,
That clinking, clanking, clunking sound,
Is all that makes the world go ’round,
It makes the world go ’round!

Enter Flash Buttons, at the depths of despair, no money, cut off from his inheritance but still harbouring dreams of his career as a racing driver. Emerging from the shadows are Failure and Greed, surrounded by a group of slinky slimy people dancing, known as the ‘Cronies’
Failure and Greed sing to Flash Buttons with the Cronies dancing all around Flash Buttons


Failure, failure, nothing but a failure
Failure, failure, nothing but a failure

Those nagging doubts that you have in your mind
All of those people who haven’t got time
All of your problems you long to beat
All those emotions belong to me

You know that I know that you know I’m right
You know that I know that you know I’m right
Here in front of you
Blocking your way
Here in front of you
Here in front of you
Here to stay
In front of you


Failure, failure, nothing but a failure
Failure , failure, nothing but a failure

People pick fault in your every word
Moves that you make, all your fears, you’re scared
You can’t succeed, it’s so plain to see
All of your doubts – belong to me

You know that I know that you know I’m right
You know that I know that you know I’m right
Here in front of you
Blocking your way
Here in front of you
Here in front of you
Here to stay
In front of you

Who are you? (X 6)

Failure, failure, nothing but a failure
Failure, failure, nothing but a failure

(for the tune visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BKg0z2zmUs )


On the corner is a banker with a motorcar
The little children laugh at him behind his back
And the banker never wears a mac
In the pouring rain…
Very strange
Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes . .

‘what did you see?
‘a ghost’
‘a ghost?’
‘you didn’t’
‘i did’ ‘well we better sing it again then’

He’s Behind You! – the Twitter Panto Bible

The Christmas Panto this year is a new form of Christmas entertainment as it’s composed entirely through contributions from Twitter. We’re offering prompts advice and input as the story continues and performance day gets closer.

Contributions should be no more than 160 characters please: any more than that will result in us exerting unilateral editorial decisions 🙂

We’re up and running and now it’s over to you!

Panto Land starts here:

Once Upon A Time there was a very, very kind caring and considerate BANKER, Heinous, who spent her lifetime looking after other peoples financial problems. She had a vast collection of piggy banks which she regularly tended with great care and affection.

Set in the ancient town of Royal Gluttonnee Bloater, Heinous tends to the rich, the poor and the ultra-poor without favour, prejudice or discrimination. Times are good in Royal Gluttonee Bloater with everyone being able to get some piece of the action. Plates are full, Christmas stockings are full to bursting, shops are bursting to the seams with food from all corners of the world and everyone’s living in the best of all possible worlds.

Once a year the town congregate to their national anthem – Piggies make the World go Round and party to the early hours of the following week. Life couldn’t get any better. Could it?

In the heart of the town though, there is a dark dark dark place which many know about but which few admit to knowing about: the House of the Porkie Pies.

Here, people furtively visit for all sorts of devious purposes: to take revenge against their neighbours in the Garden of Nede, to distort own public profiles in the Corridor of Distorting Mirrors or to damage the reputation and honor of complete strangers in the Kitchens of Teflon.

Many more scurrilous activies have been reported across the town in recent years and their incidence seems to be increasing. A rumour is spreading that disturbing forces in the House of the Porkie Pies are not happy. Quite what they’re not happy with is not clear. Quite who that Some-one is, is also not clear. But Some-one is Not Happy. And Some-one has made it clear that Something Must Be Done. That Some-one has somehow managed to start a feeling that things are not quite right in the town… that there may even be a crisis in the brewing… Whatever the truth of the matter, Everyone is becoming more and more unsettled by the actions of Someone and are beginning to cast around for Anyone to pin the blame to.

NEXT STEPS (in postings of no more than 160 characters please)


THE BANKER – a young woman called Heinous. She is bright, careful, is concerned for the planet and drives fast cars. Heinous pronounces her name ‘Heenous’ and gets upset when people call her ‘Haynous’ for obvious double-entendre reasons.

FAILURE is there waiting in the shadows to pounce on poor suspecting people trying to make their way in life http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BKg0z2zmUs

FAILURE is teamed up with another character called GREED, both of whom are nasty characters whose names/titles sum them up as panto baddies. However, you would not know this from their first appearances. They are docile, mild mannered and give to charity.

HONEY is named, not because of her hair or personality because she does tend to stick to people, often outstaying her welcome.

Male Hero: FLASH BUTTONS. Handsome, eligible, yet slightly vulnerable aspirational racing driver, fan of the Antiques Roadshow and son of the wealty, bullish but increasingly influential Minister for SustainabilitY, called VIRIDIAN. VIRIDIAN strongly objects to his son’s chosen sport and as a result, has cut FLASH out of the Will. Never terribly careful with money, FLASH now finds his only two motivations to continue racing are his dream of one day owning a team with his name on while continuing to add to his collection of fine china, especially his beloved, treasured, Piggy Banks.

It has not however been the most successful of seasons for Flash. Constantly harried by the judges and with the Ruber Taurus team carrying all before them, Flash has got himself in with a bad crowd, including FAILURE and GREED yet the attentions of the sweet girl called HONEY have led to the occasional sticky situation and a meeting with a rival gang led by STRENGTH and his trusty lieutenants HOPE and PROSPERITY.

Although FLASH doesn’t want to push HONEY away, and may indeed have great difficulty in doing so, he has found himself longing for someone who knows about money. Someone who loves fast cars. And Piggy Banks.

MERLOT Merlin the Magician has a cousin. MERLOT. Merlot is widely travelled and became very popular in most countries from Chile to Australia but he felt most comfortable in Europe and helped keep a little place in France called Château Petrus. He was accustomed to blending in, just playing a supporting role, but as his richer and smoother friends drifted out of fashion, Merlot became the reluctant darling, the easy going, ever reliable life and soul of the magical wizard parties. But time and loneliness started to take its toll.

With little genuine companionship, a public highly sceptical about even the existence of wizards and only the European Central Bank crying out for a magic so powerful that not even his more clever cousin, MERLIN, could conjure up, MERLOT started to feel cold, became thin-skinned and prone to a variety of ailments. For solace, he turned to drink, but when tipsy he had trouble remembering spells, in particular the right spells, which only caused him to drink more.

After yet another spell had gone strangely awry, he found himself waking up in a very full recycling bin listening to the most beautiful voice he had ever heard. What was she singing about? Something about a Banker? As he climbed out of the bin and pulled an empty bottle of Rosé from his nostril he thought ‘What’s wrong with these peoples taste-buds?’ But MERLOT could feel cool soil beneath his feet and a warm sun on his cheeks. His journey towards salvation had begun. MERLOT’S first stop however was to find some trousers to cover his cheeks.

Eventually, MERLOT might run off with HONEY, have two children called CINNAMON and NUTMEG and live happily ever after in an orange grove making mulled wine. What could be more appropriate around Christmas time?


Our fairy god mother – MISS MARPLE – is the antithesis of the traditional fairy – she’s Amazonian in stature with a heart and guts to match her ample physique. Rubens could have learnt a thing or two about the larger woman had he met Miss Marple.  Tinkerbelle she ain’t.

Her trusty sidekicks – the fairy godsons – Girl Elvis and Boy George – are a god send to her, procuring her every need and providing her with the fleet footedness she used to possess in her dancing days which are long gone although she doesn’t accept that. Whilst clearly the fairy godmother of the piece, her flying abilities are not apparent until the end of the story when she will fly, unaided, over the whole town dispensing her grace and favours to the grateful town citizens. Previous efforts at flight have been constantly thwarted by all manner of distractions.

She’s a classic fairy godmother dispensing goodness love and affection to everyone who needs it, righting wrongs and putting the misguided on the straight and narrow.

Named Miss Marple after her favourite flavour of smoked bacon (marple tree leaf) she revels frequently in all things sticky and sweet. She is also – of course – a classic sleuth who will be able to solve any intractable problems the other characters generate.

Who are the other characters in this story?
How do these characters communicate? Speak? Move? Gesture?
How might these characters interact?

YOU CAN SEE A SCRIPT SCRAPBOOK HERE: https://drnicko.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/hes-behind-you-the-script-scrapbook-of-the-aspire-twitter-panto/

This will eventually turn into the final script. Please feel free to add script between the characters as you see fit. Please note you cannot add script until characters have been accepted.

Authors and contributors (in order of appearance)
Ged McKenna
Angela Morris
Nick Owen
Alan Bradbury
Clare Bentley
Owen Hutchings

He’s Behind You! The AspireTwitterPanto – join in here!

The Aspire Christmas Panto this year will be a new form of Christmas entertainment as it will be composed entirely through contributions from Twitter.

It’s devastatingly simple: send your thoughts and contributions for title, plot, characters and audience to us at Aspire via Nowen.aspire@btconnect.com – and we will edit, shape and collaborate with all and every one of you.

It’s working title is ‘He’s Behind You’. Further directions on how to generate your contributions will be forthcoming in the weeks up until Christmas.

We aim to produce the final piece through a twitter feed on Friday 23 December at 12.00hrs GMT. We hope all our collaborators will be able to participate in that event either through tweeting in character, providing images for the production or perhaps even audio tweets through Audioboo or other appropriate channels.

All you have to do is tweet in!

Flow: prayer for a provisional ending

As life begins
The circle of evolution continues
Life flows through my body
like the wind blows through nature.

Flowing beside the city
Beside the river
Down by the docks
Along the far side of the port,

My words and stories evolve into thoughts and memories
and through these
my world becomes a performance.

A place where the boats fill up
The seagulls fly straight
And the passengers look out
To a place and time

Where my imagination flows
My humanity becomes a performance
Where possibilities begin
And end and begin again.

The tide surges
It falls back
The salmon are left on the shoreline
Waiting for the signals

To call them back
To the ocean
And back to the stream
They left in their youth.

But will the flow ever end?

Composed with Emily Frodsham on the morning of the death of Steve Jobs, as part of the final performance of the Flow Community Arts Autumn School, Sigdal, Norway.

Geoff Pennycook, in memoriam.

What’s different about the development of International Community Artists? Flowing towards international community arts practice in Norway

To re-write Peter Brook in his 1987 book, The Shifting Point:

What do we need from performance? What do we bring to the event? What in the artisti process needs to be prepared, what needs to be left free? What is narrative? What is character? Does the event tell something or does it work through a sort of intoxication? What belongs to physical energy, what belongs to emotion, what belongs to thought? What can be taken from an audience, what must be given? What responsibilities must we take for what we leave behind? What change can a performance bring about? What can be transformed?

Big questions from a big man and exactly the questions emergent community artists should always be asking of themselves.

What are we looking for from those young artists? And how does their training differ from an actor’s, or dancer’s or visual artist’s training? What are the differences between an ‘actor’ and a ‘performer’ in a community based context? Whilst arts skills are clearly essential for fledgling artists, are they the be-all and end-all?

Artists working a community contexts may well find themselves working in a number of different contexts which require them to play very different roles:
* actors in a Theatre in Education (TiE) shows
* Master of Ceremonies (MC) in a club or community centre,
* teachers in class,
* preachers in funding meetings
* actors in a ‘straightforward’ show in a theatre,
* facilitators with a group of young people,
* interactive performers in a museum or gallery,
* as a TV, video or radio presenter.

The relationship of the performer to ‘text’ is an interesting issue to start exploring. A lot of performance work may be in devised / improvised productions in which ‘text’ will not necessarily be language based, and is often unlikely to be the first impulse to a production. ‘Text’ as we know it may not even appear until after the production has ‘finished’.

Our relationship with ‘The Author of the Text’ who is somehow above or separate to our process will be radically different from a context which is designed to honour and respect the word of the author above everything else. One consequence of this could be, for example, that we have to reconsider whether and when the notion of us developing in-depth character psychological profiles, performed in naturalistic, ‘4th Wall’ settings which require little in the way of audience participation are of relevance to us.

Flowing towards contemporary community arts practice continues to exercise the youngest and oldest of practitioners and the advent of social networking in recent years means that old assumptions about the identity of individuals and groups has to be completely re-thought.

Further work on Flow: the Norwegian International Autumn School in Community Arts in Sigdal, Norway, here:

The OfSTED inspection: how to be in your very own Truman Show

The Truman Show is a film is set in a hypothetical town called Seahaven built in an enormous dome, and is dedicated to a continually running television show, The Truman Show. Only the central character, Truman Burbank, is unaware that he lives in an almost solipsistic constructed reality for the entertainment of those outside. The film follows his discovery of his situation and his attempts to escape. Central characters fake friendship to Truman, and in the case of his “wife”, bury their real feelings of disgust.

The OfSTED inspection is an example of a solipsistic epistemological position in that one’s own perceptions are the only things that can be known with certainty. The nature of the external world – schools — , the source of one’s perceptions — can not be conclusively known; they may not even exist at all. Truman himself can be viewed as an equivalent fictional school ofsted inspector who when visiting schools, tends to witness flowers decorating school corridors and toilet paper in the school toilets.

Inspection day can be presented as a lovely sunny day with bright blue skies; there’s not a care in the world, the children are well behaved and courteous, teachers well dressed and courteous, and its like this every day with pupils dutifully drinking water to enhance their learning and no-one objects to the Jamie Oliver inspired New School Dinner which has caused much wringing of hands and emptying of budgets.

But as in the Truman Show, the inspector is surrounded by central characters in the school who have to fake friendship and find methods to bury their real feelings of disgust in order to maintain the solipsistic constructed reality of the Government Inspector.

Poetry on the Hoof: The Reggio ‘No’ and how Early Years practice might prevent inner city meltdown

HEAD TEACHER “Head Teacher looms large!
What? Ask the kids?
But I’m in charge!”

WITNESS No school office, no school bench
No more squirming on top of the fence
No air of grief, no sense of loss,
No more staring down at the kids we’ve lost
No age creeping, no falling asleeping
No slow death watching every move they’re making

CHORUS So prego, ciao, bella e grazie
La Cita Reggio mi piace!

WITNESS No a b c, no me, me, me
No infantilising patronising health and safety
No god almighty fuss, no lack of trust
No cramming it all in till their fit to bust
No going it alone, no give a dog a bone
No fearing for the time when they’re dragged back home

CHORUS So prego, ciao, bella e grazie
La Cita Reggio mi piace!

HEAD TEACHER Head teacher quizzes rhetorical
The name of that plant?
Ask the kids, I’m not biological!

WITNESS So say yes to faith and say yes to grace
Say yes to the schools who lift up their face
From the noise and the groans and the plastic clutter
From the foundation stage and its bottled up rage
with the boxes that need ticking
And the arses that need licking
And the plans that need writing
And the staff that need biting
From the anaesthetic disconnected
Analytic tautologic lack of reciprocity
with its smack of weak authority
And howl of wolves who want to scratch down our doors….

HEAD TEACHER “Head Teacher looms large!
What? Ask the kids?
But I’m in charge!”

CHORUS So prego, ciao, bella e grazie (x3)
La Cita Reggio mi piace!

Performed by the Reggio Maniacs in homage to the inspirational children, parents, teachers and communities of Reggio Emilia, Italy. Accompanying video available upon request 🙂