Animating the History of Stirchley Baths

During October half term we welcomed back film maker Scott Johnson to run some more film challenges as part of the Heritage Programme here at the Baths. This time we opened the opportunity up to a younger age group too, and worked with children aged between 6 and 16 to create two animated films which depict the history of two periods in the Baths’ history timeline; setting the scene for their construction and opening (1903-1911) and the war years (1939-45).

Scott showed us films from the the early days of shadow puppet animation back in the 1920s; looking at how the first animations were made, and Suzanne briefed them on the history of the Baths. Inspired and understanding the challenge they had been set, our young participants then started to develop characters, plots and narrative in order to tell the story. This was followed by a few creative hours cutting out the shadows and backgrounds for the scenes.  Then the stop motion animating began…

Here is a gallery of pictures…

Some facts!

There were:

  • 119 cut outs
  • 1564 pictures taken
  • 68 hands removed (from pictures taken!)
  • 20 animators and 3 helpers

The challenge was then thrown into Scott’s court with two days to edit the films, add the sound effects and recorded narration ready to premiere at our red carpet celebration event on the Friday evening. It was great to see most of our participants and their families enjoying the popcorn, movie and Q & A session with the young animators.

We hope you also enjoy the results!


A few reviews…

  • Incredible work in such a short time! It was lovely seeing the cut outs of the scenes after. Brings the history of the building to life.
  • Great film, very enjoyable. Good to see the kids getting some creative time.
  • 5/5 wins best animation film!
  • FABULOUS!!! It’s obvious that a lot of hard work and creativity went into this production. Very proud.
  • It was fun. 100/100
  • It was amazing. I really enjoyed it. (Gracie, aged 11)
  • I loved it! (Ramsey, aged 6)
  • What a brilliant project. The kids loved it and learnt new skills and we all learnt loads about the history of the baths! More please! (and for grown ups)
  • Brilliant workshop, film premiere, well done everyone!

The adults want to know when they can have a turn!

Another gallery of pictures, this time of the evening…

Thank you to Scott for superb facilitation and working his ‘movie magic’ with the films, and to everyone involved in the sessions; especially to volunteers Esther and Alex who supported the workshops.


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