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How to Use Storycard Theater®
Storycard Theater dramas are easy to read and fun to watch. Each card has large, clear text on the back and colorful artwork on the front, which lets you read to an audience while showing it the pictures. (No more twisting your neck to read a picture book!) Here are four simple tips for performing Storycard Theater effectively.

1.
Arrange the cards
Sort
Make sure the cards are in numerical order. (Each card is numbered on the front.)
 
2.
Position the cards
Position
Hold the stack of cards so that the text faces you and the pictures face the audience. You can rest the cards on your lap or a desktop.
 
3.
Read the back
Read
With the cards stacked properly, the text on the card facing you will correspond to the picture on the card facing the audience. Read the text.
 
4.
Slide front card to back
Exchange
When you finish reading a card, slide the card facing the audience to the side with a dramatic flourish and move it to the back of the deck.

Storycard Theater dramas are designed to be read to children ages 3–8, and to be performed by ages 8 and up. They are ideal for groups of up to 25.

Performance Tips
Like the traditional kamishibai storytellers, we begin our performances by clapping two sticks together, faster and faster. (Kids in the audience like to try this, too.) For their portability and clear sound, we use a pair of hardwood claves.

Another popular sound effect comes from our Thunder Tube, which we whip out during the storm scenes in Momotaro and Moon Princess and the grumbling-stomach scene in Jack & the Beanstalk. Audience members always come up afterwards asking to try it themselves.

We begin and end Momotaro by playing the Momotaro song on an alto recorder. During the scene where Momotaro meets the animals, we often sing the song in either English or Japanese.

Momotaro Melody

Using the Presentation Frame frees our hands to make dramatic gestures. For example, in Momotaro, we hold the claves on our heads to simulate the ogre’s horns. In Jack, we lurch forward and pretend to grab the head of an audience member when the text says, “With a terrible roar, the giant stretched out his huge, hairy hand to grab the boy.” When Jack starts chopping down the beanstalk, we stand up and swing one clave like an ax to pantomime that.

Free! Download kamishibai performance and construction tips (PDF).

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Have tips of your own? Please let us know.


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Performance photo 3
Newsflash: Storycard Theater wins Dr. Toy’s Top 10 Creative Products of the Year award.