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Arabian Nights


A magical project that casts children as heroes in a quest to find the genie’s lost story and bring their own tales of Arabian Nights to life.​


”I was definitely enthusiastic and I felt that I was being led on the journey too. I was just as excited as the children when we received emails! Watching the children in the Rep was great! Many of the children were whispering to their friend and saying, that’s my part, I wrote that! They were very proud of themselves!”.
Katie, teacher at Nansen Primary School

On a normal school day, the class begin to watch a painfully boring video on the history of concrete when a technical fault occurs - the screen blurs and the face of a Genie appears, asking the pupils for help: once a major character in Arabian Nights, he has disappeared from modern versions and he is fading from view..


Speaking to the class via emails and video messages, the genie helps them discover the stories of Arabian Nights and embark on a journey to their local library to discover the magical secret room where the ancient book was lost… Discovering that the pages have crumbled to dust, the children must create new stories about the genie, complete the book in their classroom and return it to the Library so the stories can be shared. With a sprinkle of magic, the genie thanks the class by having their stories performed by professional actors on stage.


Arabian Nights engaged Year 3 – Year 5 pupils in an interactive narrative adventure that developed their creative writing skills, increased digital literacy and empowered them as artists. Taking place over 4 weeks, it used live performance, email, storytelling and involved pupils creating work alongside professional artists.


The project ran in Birmingham across Autmn 2014. It was written and directed by Tom Bowtell for Coney, Library of Birmingham and Birmingham REP


Director/Writer: Tom Bowtell
Writer/Lead Facilitator: Fran Moulds
Producer: Alex Rowse
Project Manager: Georgina Bednar
Set and Costume Designer: Joanna Scotcher
Education Consultant and Editor: Juliet Desailly
Assistant Producer & Documentary Maker: Natalie Raaum
Assistant Designer/Props Supervisor: Alice Cox
Sound Designer: Tom Mills


Video Designer: Ben Harvey

Graphic Design support: Ross Aitken

Online Writer: Glyn Cannon
Cast: Fran Moulds, Julia Voce, Hezron Brown, KrissDosanj, Juliet Fry, Nadia Kemp-S
ayfi, Kim Allsopp, Craig Hall


Volunteer: Tiurlan Passmore
Production Management: Liz Vass, Katie Banks, Chris Cuthbert from Acquis Media

With Library of Birmingham and Birmingham REP Theatre.
Jen Bakewell: Audience Engagement Coordinator at the Library
Steve Ball: Associate Director of the REP


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