Slightly off the beaten track, is a church hall in Edinburgh and this is where the Interactive Storytelling Collective are busy hothousing young minds. From ‘once upon a time’ to ‘happily ever after’,  children are discovering the essential building blocks to create their own ingenious tall tales and small stories.

Some like to keep it in the family but this particular family enthusiastically share their storytelling expertise with us all. The Interactive Storytelling Collective consists of actors, storytellers, imagineers, engineers (and in this case), brother and sister Hess and Alex, and their dad – Jim Bryce Hill.

Story Builders  has a story within a story of course. The audience is challenged to find a replacement tale for King Hans, whose mandatory bedtime story has been stolen by a grumpy troll. The audience embark on a journey to build a new ‘arc’ of a story for the King, experiencing the joyful (sometime arduous!) process of creative storytelling whilst sitting on a comfy cushion.

The team skilfully encourage everyone to contribute in an inclusive manner. A perversely enigmatic and slightly vicious comedic troll keeps interrupting the flow, providing a shot of energy when ideas are flagging. Hess finally brings it altogether beautifully. She is quite astounding in her ability to remember the twists and turns of a complicated, sometimes illogical plot line. She tie’s it all up nicely with a pretty bow on top to present to the King.

Less of a show, more of a workshop – it is intimate, interactive and for lively imaginations willing to contribute, highly rewarding. However, the story can live and die by the quality of it’s ‘inputs’. Sometimes the wild imaginations of 5 year olds can be irritating for the cynical 12 year old that can’t be bothered to participate. Therefore this one is perhaps more appropriate for younger primary school audiences. Bring your creative juices.