The Giant’s Blankets – Barnsley Library

A person stands on a hillside, with their outstretched arms covered in patterned blue blankets that blow in the wind.

I’ve been working on something a bit different lately. During the creation of The Many Uses of a Blanket project in 2021/2022 lots of beautiful exchanges happened between a wide range of people and the blankets – they were gifted to a cold baby at a charity football match, they comforted a member of the public who fell outside one of the exhibitions, we’ve had picnics on them and brought colour and comfort to lots of public arts events. As a result of this I decided that there was a story to tell. So with a lot of support I’ve written it, and worked out how to bring that story to life by using the blankets.

In The Giant’s Blankets, a lonely giant shelters from the storm under a mountain of blankets. Travelling two giant steps at a time, she secretly gifts her blankets of kindness and care to people and animals in the town, but nobody notices the giant. The audience travels with the giant through the storm to a place where she eventually feels part of a community. At the moment, I am the performer, bringing this story to life using the Giant’s Blankets which transform into crashing clouds and twisting tornadoes; the giant uses her blankets to make a hammock that rescues a cyclist, a tent to protect an engineer and a sling for a baby; and the blankets make a space for a wonderful community picnic when everyone returns to thank the helpful giant who has made some new friends.

On a beautifully sunny weekend in June, Barnsley Libraries invited me to come and share the story of the Giant’s Blankets to their family audiences as part of their programme of Refugee Week events. The two performances were followed by a stay and play activity where we built dens, created fuzzy felt blankets and enjoyed the colouring sheets.

Magical – it was a lovely performance, really creative and imaginative. 

Really enjoyable. My daughter who is 3 was fully enjoying the story and loved the den building

The Giant’s Blankets has been developed so far with generous support from Wonder Arts in the form of rehearsal space, advice and arranging scratch performances; Kevin Dyer as mentor and dramaturg; R&D funding from St Helens Council Borough of Culture grants; Thatto Heath Primary School and Buzz Hub who took part in workshops to develop and test the story and St Thomas of Canterbury and St John Vianney Primary schools who have both hosted scratch performances of the work.

I’m hoping to develop the project further, if you’re interested in hosting a performance and activity, or can support the development of the work, please get in touch.