Local theatre company create 4 original family musicals to introduce children to the arts
I’ve loved taking my children to East Riding Theatre in Beverley to watch some of the children’s shows that She Productions have put on in the past. I took my son to see The Three Kingdoms when it was first shown in 2015 and he still talks about the show now. I took both of my children to their Lightless Pumpkin Halloween show and their Easter show last year and it has been a fantastic first introduction to theatre, especially my younger child who has always been quite shy and nervous of going to watch shows; she now loves going after these great first experiences. I was delighted to hear that She Productions are putting on 4 family shows across the next year, company founder Annie sent me some info about them…..
Following the success of previous sell-out family shows, She Productions announce their Young People’s Programme supported by Arts Council England. East Riding Theatre’s Company in Residence will produce 4 family shows throughout 2019 to enable children to experience the magic of theatre from a young age. The programme also offers a professional mentorship scheme for young aspiring theatre-makers and childcare subsidy to support actors who are parents or caregivers.
Company member and writer, Jessica Duffield said: “It’s so exciting that, what began 4 years ago, has now developed into an annual programme. It is wonderful to see young people engaging in theatre and we hope to continue bringing in new generations of audiences and artists for years to come!”
The programme will run at East Riding Theatre during school holidays (Summer, October Half Term, Christmas and Easter) offering families an alternative and affordable day out. The shows, all with original songs and scripts written by the company, include re-mounts of audience favourite She Productions’ shows and brand new material:
The Three Kingdoms
First up is the return of the 2015 sell-out show, The Three Kingdoms, running during the upcoming summer school holidays 14th to 24th August 2019. Now 4 years on, the company hopes it will attract a new generation of young people to join them in this all-singing, all-dancing theatrical experience, set in our very own “Umbarside”!
Let us enter The Three Kingdoms, where anything is possible; what you want you’ll always get. But just be warned to think it through; a wish forever stays with you. Join Salmon Ella, Umbar Ella and Acapp Ella in their quest to conquer: they have just inherited The Three Kingdoms; one third each. To their delight, they have the freedom to rule their Kingdom exactly as they wish. But the power of choice proves all too much for these sisters and, ignoring advice to unite, they go their separate ways. Disaster strikes. Will they find it in their hearts to help each other before it’s too late? This modern day fairy-tale filled with original songs, will have you laughing, singing and casting spells as you are immersed into a tale of teamwork, togetherness and the power of three. Tickets: £6 child, £6.50 adults, under 2s go free, book online here.
The Lightless Pumpkin Returns
For The Lightless Pumpkin Returns, a story about a pumpkin who helps others to welcome diversity and uniqueness running 29th to 31st October 2019, She Productions will collaborate with Beverley Library, leading the audience on a short procession between ERT and the library as part of the adventure. These promenade shows are designed to avoid having to sit in one place for too long, immersing audiences into the story; and where better to do this than in the library!
The Fairy That Fell Off The Christmas Tree
A brand new Christmas cracker, The Fairy That Fell Off The Christmas Tree, will premier in December 2019 in ERT’s café bar, to offer something for the valued audience members who are too young for the Main House production. After Fairy takes a tumble, the decorations must find a replacement otherwise Christmas will be ruined! With a set made entirely out of recycled materials, this is a Christmas reminder that being present is better than any present, and that new memories are better than new toys any day.
Alice’s Eggstravaganza in Wonderland
The programme finale, Alice’s Eggstravaganza in Wonderland, running April 2020, in partnership with White Rabbit Chocolatiers. This musical promenade will have the audiences singing and dancing with Wonderland locals, including a first-time appearance from the Mad Hatter, in search of the runaway rabbit who has stolen some Easter eggs! To add to the ‘egg-citement’ this year, White Rabbit will run 2 chocolate workshops at ERT and there will be a limited edition Mad Hatter’s Tea Party after some shows.
She Productions’ aims to ensure that programme is accessible to everyone and so includes multiple relaxed performances, as well as the option for pre-show sensory tours. The style of all the shows is visually vibrant and interactive, which makes them instantly more inclusive, and the company strives to introduce captions and British Sign Language into the summer show.
As the company has grown over the last 4 years, they aim to develop their inclusivity policy for audience and artists. This programme will be the first to include extra financial support for actors with children, which is often neglected in the theatre industry. Allison Saxton, who will be multi-roling in Alice’s Eggstravaganza in Wonderland says: “As a parent with little support from family it’s almost impossible to source and pay for good, reliable childcare, especially when working during school holidays. With the numerous low/no pay jobs in the acting industry it makes things even more difficult. Thankfully companies like She Productions are starting to spearhead a change and are recognising the valuable contribution parent actors have to offer and are looking for ways to make it easier for those of us with caring responsibilities to work.”
She Productions will also employ a young local theatre-maker for each show, upskill them in an area of their choice and give them the experience of working in a supportive, professional and inclusive environment. They could be employed as a stage manager, assistant director, producer, Technician or an actor like Esme Kingdom, who worked on The Lightless Pumpkin Returns in 2018. She says:
“I had more involvement in the creation of the production than I ever have before, which was so exciting. I have loved every second of this process and would love the chance to perform with this company again!
If you are an aspiring theatre-maker, aged 18-21, please get in touch for opportunities.