We make the imaginary into reality

We make the imaginary into reality

Minny Stynker AR

Minny Stynker is a theatrical augmented reality experience: part workshop, part picture book.

Zubr Curio collaborated with theatre-maker, artist and illustrator Tomasin Cuthbert to explore ways of using AR to spark children’s creativity and imagination.

We developed a prototype app for Tomasin to use in workshops that lets children design and create their own imaginary friend, and then animate and place them in AR.


The Minny Stynker workshop companion and AR book were developed via direct collaboration with Tomasin Cuthbert, Artistic Director of Soap Soup Theatre, and author and illustrator of the Minny Stynker adventure. Composer/musician Tom Ball designed the audio.

The project was kindly funded by Arts Council England, and supported by Knowle West Media Centre, Bristol Old Vic, and Action for ME.

Arts Council England logo
Bristol Old Vic logo
action for me logo
KWMC logo
Children's Minny Stynker-inspired artwork
The city from Minny Stynker AR

Get Involved!

Do you work in a Children’s Hospice, on a children’s ward or for a charity, educational setting or support group that works with families caring for children with long term illness or chronic health conditions? Or are you caring for a child or young person with a health condition?

If this sounds like you, and you are interested in trialling our Minny Stynker Augmented Reality Experience then we want to hear from you!

If you would like to be involved in testing the prototype please contact Tomasin at soapsouptheatrecompany@gmail.com to take part, and follow their on Instagram for updates.


Workshop participants


Workshop stream viewers


App users

AR Workshop

The Minny Stynker digital project aimed to find a way for children with chronic illnesses or who were in hospital long-term to enjoy augmented reality in a meaningful, social context. Ideally the app we made would enable creativity and initiate community. 

Inspired by imaginary friends, we developed an AR interaction that transforms hand drawn figures into pose-able AR characters. 

Tomasin ran creative family workshops across Bristol, offering participants a series of silhouette templates which they could colour in or collage.

Once each child had designed their own imaginary friend inspired by Minny Stynker, they photographed their work using the app. We use the resulting photo as a texture for a rigged sprite which converts their drawing into a full-bodied character.

The AR app offers a selection of animations including dancing, waving and flips, letting the children bring their imaginary friend to life and experiment with different styles and poses.

Minny Stynker tablet app

The available animations differ depending on the silhouette template the child originally chose, giving opportunities to replay the experience and have a different outcome.

The Minny Stynker AR workshop is a fantastic, low-key introduction to augmented reality and animation for young children.

The imaginary friends can be ‘placed’ in AR – letting you take a picture with them via the camera feed, or record a short video of them moving around your space using the screen record function.

Any photos or videos can be shared after the workshop as part of an ongoing online exhibition. This is an opportunity for the children to digitally ‘meet’ the different imaginary friends that have been created during the project.

If you’d like to attend a workshop or find out more, please visit the Soap Soup Theatre website where you’ll find forms to sign up for sessions and more information about the Minny Stynker project.

“We made The Minny Stynker Experience to ease the tedium and stress of long hours in care settings, and to create a bit of magic for families to share when they might not be able to access traditional theatre settings due to ill health.”

Tomasin Cuthbert, Artistic Director of Soap Soup Theatre

“We made The Minny Stynker Experience to ease the tedium and stress of long hours in care settings, and to create a bit of magic for families to share when they might not be able to access traditional theatre settings due to ill health.”

Tomasin Cuthbert, Artistic Director of Soap Soup Theatre

AR Picture Book

Tomasin also wanted to prototype an AR picture book, featuring the imaginary friend Minny Stynker.

First, we workshopped how AR can bring 2D illustrations to life by transposing traditional animation into 3D space. 

We discussed ways of expanding the story beyond the physical book like creating AR pools of water collecting on surfaces outside of the page, or how the illustrated characters could break out of the limits of the page.

Tomasin shared her digital drawings with our graphics team, who suggested elements of each picture book page to animate in order to create a believable, multifaceted scene for families to explore.

Illustration from the Minny Stynker AR experience

Creating visual layers and simultaneous movement through swaying tree branches, plummeting raindrops, and rumbling lorry engines adds to the realism of the image. 

Adding dimensionality expands the world of Minny Stynker beyond the boundaries of the page.

This blurring between reality and imagination is heightened by AR techniques and a wonderful soundscape which plays beneath the audio narration. Together, this combination really brings the world of Minny Stynker to life resulting in a highly immersive and believable experience.

The app is sure to charm adults and children alike. If you’d like to discuss a similar project or have an idea for an interactive experience aimed at children you can contact us for a free consultation or discover more of our projects to spark your own imagination.