In a landscape in which children’s theatre is beginning to aim higher, this is a high-reaching collaboration which will seed an ambitious, multi-disciplinary piece of new festive theatre developed with, and for, 3-7 year olds and their families. Bringing together four inspiring theatre makers, Didcot’s Cornerstone and Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury, are collaborating for the first time to co-produce this new project.
The venues have selected exceptional artists working in children’s theatre, design, movement and dance, music and composition, and street junk art, each of whom has a track record working with children in an inspiring way. What’s ambitious is that they have never worked together before and are all very excited by the prospect of it – to generate ideas for their work and make connections with new artists, venues and audiences:
Pins and Needles Theatre Company is a collaborative director/designer led company, directed by Zoe Squire and Emma Earle. They produce inspiring, delightful theatre for children, that stretches imaginations www.pinsandneedlesproductions.co.uk
Helen Parlor has performed internationally in contemporary dance theatre (Motionhouse, Panta Rei Danseteater, Jonathan Lunn) and works choreographically and creatively with people of all ages and abilities. www.helenparlor.co.uk
Matthew Sharp is as solo cellist, bass-baritone and actor. Last year, for Opera North, he wrote and directed A Ghost Story for Christmas and conceived their ‘Four Seasons’ collaboration with the Yorkshire Sculpture Park. www.matthewsharp.net
Nick Garnett is a visual artist and a builder of ‘things’ who has been working with schools and communities in an attempt to travel through time and space in a vehicle powered by high octane imagination.
Cornerstone and Gulbenkian come into partnership for the first time, sharing a desire to develop innovative children’s theatre, and to make audience engagement and accessibility integral to development and performance.
The project will engage current children’s theatre audiences and new family audiences at both venues, through schools, children’s centres and groups. Their involvement in the creative process will help to inspire them to be part of theatre-making at both venues in the future, which is something not fully developed to date. The work will draw on audience interaction to create a piece equally inspiring for future audiences across the country.