What's this Curious Parcel lark all about then, eh?

Hey there, Hannah here – I’d like to introduce myself and my crazy, mad, (hopefully) wonderful idea to you, so we can get better acquainted.

The Curious Parcel is something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time, something I feel incredibly passionate about. I love contemporary theatre and have been lucky enough to find a career in it, working as a producer and meeting some fascinating artists, but I recognise that not everybody has had that exposure, and The Curious Parcel is my small way of trying to change that. I trialled the idea in 2015 on a tiny scale as an experiment, and people really liked them – everything was handmade a little rough around the edges, but it made me determined to scale up and make a plan to launch The Curious Parcel properly. My idea was to run it as a subscription service, similar to Birchbox or Hellofresh, featuring exclusive, limited edition creations from some new and favourite theatre artists.

I’ve always felt that there is something really quite special about artists, something enchanting about them. They have an ability to see the world in a different way, to tell stories that help me to understand myself and others better. I’ve had some truly transformative (and entertaining!) moments in the theatre, and I feel driven to try to bring those moments to as many people as possible. The Curious Parcel isn’t meant to be a replacement for live theatre – nothing could be!– my hope is that it enables busy people to get a slice of the action. I used to see so much live theatre, but since becoming a mum and moving to the suburbs, I can’t just pop out of an evening like I once could. There are childcare arrangements to be made, travel plans to cook up, and often I just don’t have the energy!

I know all too well how easy it is to get into the habit of collapsing onto the sofa, half watching something on the telly and half scrolling through social media feeds on my phone, so I wanted to create an experience where double-screening wasn’t an option, but that would still allow the recipient some ‘me time’. Curious Parcels are designed to be participatory, to take you away from everyday life and to block out the noise of current affairs and the daily grind – to suspend reality in the same way that an amazing album or captivating novel might. Each experience is 20 minutes of escapism, but the beauty of it is that it fits in around your life – want to do it on a Sunday morning under the duvet? Great! Or on the sofa after the kids have gone to bed? Go for it! In the age of mindfulness and meditation, there is definitely an awareness of the importance of nurturing one’s soul, but I believe that this means different things to different people, and that not everyone finds inner peace in a yoga studio! For me, having a creative outlet and the ability to be surprised and delighted in my own home are a sort of therapy that no amount of visualisation or slow breathing could achieve.

So that’s my idea. It’s taken a lot of time and effort to get to this point, and I’m both (very) excited and (Incredibly) nervous to hear your responses to the first box. Subscriptions open on 1st December, so let me know what you think!

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