News Story

house theatre announces its support for four brilliant contemporary theatre productions to tour south-east and east England during spring 2024

The season opens with the delightful choogh choogh, an interactive show about Indian train journeys for ages 2-5 combining dance, music and theatre. The imaginative show by Beeja playfully explores how travel can open our eyes to new sights, sounds and experiences and will transport families through a cultural adventure.

Also touring is On Track, following one woman’s discovery of the bicycle and its liberating powers, from Victorian times through to lockdown. This phenomenal production by south-east based theatre company RedCape highlights the isolation many felt during the pandemic but also shows how something as simple as a bicycle can help us break free, both physically and mentally.

The theme of isolation is explored with Hermit by the Netherlands-based Simone de Jong Company, about a man content in his tiny home until curiosity compels him to invite others inside. It is a sensitive show for children aged 2 to 6 about tackling loneliness with humour and heart and explores the human need for connection and friendship.

The Freshwater Five grapples with isolation of a very different kind, examining the plight of five struggling fishermen embroiled in a cocaine smuggling plot. Inspired by the much-lauded Guardian Today in Focus podcast, this folkloric true crime tale is a detailed and rich theatrical investigation into the men’s tragic downfall.

Peter Glanville, Director of Farnham Maltings, which runs the house southeast theatre network says: “Whether by a train, bike, or boat, the journeys in this season speak to our shared desire for community, even in isolation. We hope these stories of discovery inspire audiences to reflect on life’s adventures and possibilities.”

The house Spring tours runs across 49 performances starting on Wednesday 14 February with Choogh Choogh at Norden Farm Arts Centre in Maidenhead and ending on Sunday 19 May with The Freshwater Five at The Key Theatre in Peterborough.

Beeja and house present choogh choogh

choogh choogh was a joyful, immersive, and interactive experience. Really refreshing for children to experience performance going beyond nursery rhymes and be engaged with such high-quality danceTeacher & Audience Member

All aboard for a delightful train journey through India.

Experience the sights, sounds and smells evoked through South Asian dance, music and theatre; and meet some amazing characters along the way.

choogh choogh is a family-friendly show inspired by the joy for travelling through India on a train. It combines classical Indian dance with theatre and play, sharing with audiences a world full of colour, and invention.

The journey starts with your specially issued choogh choogh ticket. Three artists then weave a travelling tapestry with scarves and original songs evoking, the sights, sounds and smells of the train, - hawkers, festivals, musicians, rivers, jungles and cities. This show is an exploration of just how much we can see and imagine, together, as the train chooghs chooghs on.

Age guidance: Recommended age: 2-5 years (babies also welcome), families and train and travel lovers

Running time: 25 mins + stay and play

About Beeja

Beeja was started by Anusha Subramanyam – dancer, choreographer, teacher and dance movement therapist. She is seen as one of the most exciting exponents of bharatanatyam working ‘inside’ and ‘outside’ of its tradition.

Beeja means ‘seed’ in Hindi. In keeping with its name, Beeja aims to generate new ideas, new understanding and fresh creative forms, particularly through the way that it allows us to be alert to, and take tremendous pleasure in living organisms and biological webs of relatedness.

Touring from 14 February 2024, presented by house:

RedCape Theatre and South Street Arts & house present On Track

Bloody Marvellous…loved the concept and delivery of the show. Witty with current themes and topics and even some history thrown in!” Audience Feedback

March 2020. Kit is a resourceful working mother of two who thrives in a fast-paced world, but when lockdown hits, her world shrinks. With the walls closing in, two wheels become her sanctuary, and her escape.

A new play drawing on true stories and using RedCape Theatre's trademark blend of comedy and visual, physical theatre, On Track follows Kit's journey of discovery through the history of women's cycling.

Exploring how a simple bicycle can becouffrme a vehicle to freedom, On Track will inspire you to pump up your tyres and ride out on a new adventure.

Running time: 60 minutes
Age guidance: 12+ Contains occasional strong language

About RedCape Theatre
RedCape Theatre is run by Artistic Directors Cassie Friend and Rebecca Loukes and is company-in-residence at South Street Arts Centre, Reading.

We make and tour original plays. Our starting point is always a true story. We are drawn to ordinary people in extraordinary situations. From here we begin a process of research and investigation, meeting as many people as we can. The material is then brought into a rehearsal room where it is sifted and shaped by all the collaborators. Through this process we aim to make theatre that matters, moves and entertains. Our work is highly visual and physical with new writing.

Touring from 29 February 2024, presented by house:

Simone de Jong Company and house present Hermit

“a gorgeous 40 minute show that fully involves the children in the audience in a vital, laughter-filled adventure” THE SCOTSMAN

I can see a box, no wait, Is it a house?

There’s a noise.

Could there be something inside?

Suddenly a flap opens.

Is that a man living in a box?

Hermit is a silly, funny and intriguing show about a quiet, tall man living in a teeny tiny house. The owner feels happy and proud of his little home and loves to hide away from the world there but can we earn his trust so he will invite us inside?

Come along and meet Hermit in this inventive and sensitive show about being alone and coming home.

Age guidance: For 2 – 6 year olds

Running time: 35 minutes

About Simone De Jong

From their home in The Netherlands, Simone de Jong Company has been making theatre for young audiences and anyone who wants to be that big again. The performances of Simone de Jong Company are characterized by their imagination, humour and inventiveness. Working with minimal dialogue, images, sound and movement are the basis for touching, challenging and inspiring children.

Touring from 3 April 2024, presented by house:

Deadman Productions and house present Freshwater Five

5 fishermen. £53m of cocaine. An ongoing fight for justice.

In 2011, five fishermen on the Isle of Wight (Jamie Green, Jon Beere, Daniel Payne, Scott Birtwistle & Zoran Dresic) were sentenced to a total of 104 years for conspiracy to import £53m worth of cocaine. They have always professed their innocence. A true tale that has long divided a community on the Isle of Wight. This powerful new play seeks to heal the divide and explore the state of our coastal communities.

Inspired by the wildly popular Guardian Today in Focus podcast The Freshwater Five incorporates spectacular storytelling, verbatim accounts, inventive stagecraft, poetry and song. The South Coast cast and creatives delve into subjects of classical & contemporary smuggling, deteriorating coastal communities, immigration and folklore as well as examining this ancient profession’s place in our times.

Fresh from a sell-out coastal communities tour in 2023, award-winning Isle of Wight company Deadman is now setting sail for a wider tour of the acclaimed show. Led by artistic director Samuel Bossman, Liam Patrick Harrison’s stage play launches a detailed and rich theatrical investigation into the men’s tragic downfall.

Running time: 60 minutes
Age guidance: 12+ Contains strong language & drug references

About Deadman

Deadman is an award-winning precariat class-led theatre & film company whose work has been presented on stages across the country as well as international film festivals. The company and ensemble are dedicated to staging contemporary & captivating local narratives - for and from Britain's unheard and underserved coastal communities.

Touring from 25 April 2024, presented by house: