‘Appy times for White iPad app

Mar 18 2014 | By More

Catherine Wheels’ White released as an app

A new app based on White, the play for 2-4 year olds created by Andy Manley for Catherine Wheels, has been launched in collaboration with East Lothian company Hippotrix.

White: The App extends the world of White, where Cotton and Wrinkle are two funny little men in knitted bobble-hats who live in an all-white world and care for eggs which fall from the sky. Occasionally, coloured eggs fall and bring brighten the rest of the stage.

White: Nap Time. Screenshot

White: Nap Time. Screenshot

The app is currently free for iPhone and iPad until the end of March, when it will cost £1.99. It works best on larger screen tablet devices and requires iOS 7 to run. Versions for non-iPhone platforms are being developed.

Using Andy Manley’s original idea, with sound and music from Danny Krass and Shona Reppe’s design, White: The App allows children aged from 1 to 5 to take on the role of Cotton and Wrinkle and care for the eggs themselves.

Paul Fitzpatrick of Catherine Wheels told Æ that the idea of the app is create a digital toy rather than a game. There are no levels to achieve, just a series of scenes to explore.

He said: “We had a lot of parents email and facebook us with stories of how their children still talked about White and if there was a video of the show. Obviously we weren’t going to start issuing videos of the theatre production (though we keep talking about what a film might be like…) but we really wanted to think of a creative way that children and their parents could remember and relive the experience of the live show.”

Andy Manley, said: “The production has been an amazing success, and has toured all over the world. But we thought an app would be a great way to sprinkle a little bit of White’s magic even more widely, so kids who can’t get to see a live performance can still take part.”

“children can recreate their favourite moments”

Hippotrix Producer Simone Bloomfield noted: “The show is rich with learning outcomes, from exploration of colour to a shared experience of theatre with a parent. We wanted to preserve these aspects in the app, so children can recreate their favourite moments from White, and maybe take them further. They’ll become familiar with nurturing behaviours, beautiful music and theatricality, which can build on the live experience or stand alone.”


White Screenshot

Creating a mobile and tablet product for the very young was not without its challenges, according to researcher Ben Fletcher-Watson.

He said: “We analysed the interactions used in a number of Early Years products to find the optimum set-up for very young children. For example, there are no complex tasks that require delicate motor skills, like pinching or multi-finger swipe.

“Too many apps don’t consider the needs of their users carefully, and we wanted to ensure that the very youngest children could still get the most out of the experience.”

White: The App is the second iOS app from Hippotrix, with Hippo Seasons published in 2011. The company is based just outside North Berwick and was set up by producer Simone Bloomfield and director Jonathan Charles to develop original apps for young children which stimulate learning and self-expression through exploratory play.

Bloomfield told Æ that Hippotrix is looking to release more theatre apps for children in coming months. She said the company is offering application development to arts organisations and is keen to hear from companies interested in pushing cross-artform projects.

Click here to download White: The App from the App Store.
Catherine Wheels website: www.catherinewheels.co.uk
Hippotrix website: www.hippotrix.com
White: The App has its own website: whitetheapp.com


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