With apologies to Orwell, Barrowland Ballet's latest project is a case of "one show good, two shows better".

It is also true that two heads are better than one, with choreographer Natasha Gilmore joining forces with writer Robert Alan Evans on a mutual learning curve that created Tiger (for everyone aged 14 and over) and Tiger Tale (for the six-plus age group).

Back in December 2011, youngsters were piling into the Arches to watch Rudolf, Evans's adorably funny, touching take on how the visibly different little reindeer came to Santa's rescue on Christmas Eve. Gilmore was among them, albeit with an ulterior motive. She had a proposition - would Evans be interested in collaborating? The result of their endeavours will premiere at Platform in Easterhouse, Glasgow, this week.

Tiger/Tiger Tale was not inspired by Blake's poem. Instead, a 1968 children's story called The Tiger Who Came To Tea - promptly eating everything, disrupting family life and generally causing mayhem - offered possibilities for lively dancing, while Gilmore found herself looking at the popular story from another angle too. "I started thinking about it from the mum's point of view. She can't keep any kind of control over events, she can't keep the household together, she can't really look after her family - what if the tiger was really emblematic of her having a breakdown?"

This notion took hold of everyone's imagination. Ideas were being sketched out when Evans asked her "how many minutes in should we be meeting the tiger?". For him, this was part of structuring a play script. For Gilmore it made a significant difference to the development of the dance pieces.

"We'd been in the studio," she says, "doing various improvisation exercises with the dancers, getting them to think about character and story-telling - and this would have been our way in to devising the whole piece. But with Rob asking questions about structure, we ended that workshop session with a really clear script in place. It's been a really economic use of time. Instead of having to find a way through the story, we've been able to concentrate on what each section is about, and how we need to show that."

Evans, meanwhile, was getting caught up in the expressive possibilities of movement: "I've just loved discovering how you can tell a story through the imagery onstage, without any words." Because the choreography is open to different interpretations, most of the material in Tiger crosses over into the piece for younger audiences, Tiger Tale.

As a mother of young children, Gilmore is aware that kids perceive things very differently from adults.

"In Tiger Tale, we've edited out the sexual element in the relationship breakdown between the parents," says Gilmore. "But the core idea stays the same. This wild, exciting energy that transforms everything can be a part of everyday life. This family don't realise that they're trapped, or that mum is having a breakdown, or that daughter Poppy is so unhappy. Once the tiger breaks in, there is an opportunity to fix things."

It is this undertow of family dysfunction that sees the work featuring as part of this year's Scottish Mental Health Arts & Film Festival. At the same time, Evans is taking pleasure in how both shows push through the conventions of theatre performance. Fred Pommerehn's design is as much an art installation as an adventure playground, while the live music, by Kim Moore (of Zoey Van Goey) spins a wonderful sound-web to match the cat's-cradle string that loops around the metal frames of the set.

"I really had no idea what to expect when Natasha asked me if I'd like to work with her," laughs Evans. "But it's as if I've been introduced to a whole new language. And there's such sophistication in the way the dancers use their bodies …"

He is not about to give up on the writing, however. His new Christmas show, a version of Sleeping Beauty, has its premiere in Cardiff.

Tiger is at Platform in Easterhouse, Glasgow, on Friday at 7pm; Tiger Tale is at the same venue on Saturday at 2pm.

For full touring details go to www.barrowlandballet.co.uk