I’m often asked if I’m mad in relation to my artistic choices. Most commonly, I’m asked why I insist on creating original shows, rather than following the trusted — and far more profitable —method of adapting popular books and known titles. What can I tell you, I just can’t help myself. I’m in love with making up new stories. I write them so that I can see people in my audience and not merely dollar signs, so that I can attempt to make a real human connection and share a real human experience and, above all else, because I love it.
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Your theatre is not just for Christmas. In spite of all your good intentions, you probably only go to the theatre on one or two occasions. And if it’s only one occasion, then that occasion is almost certainly pantomime. But theatre is there for you the whole year round and what’s more, if you enjoy your pantomime then here’s the good news: it gets better! Often, dare I say, waaaaay better. I mean, pantomime will entertain you with some great sketches and set pieces, framed by a story you know and trust, but over the course of the next eleven months there will be other stories on at your local theatre that will surprise you, delight you, and move you in ways you could barely imagine.
The vast majority of theatre for young people is interactive. Our stuff, by way of example, is tremendously interactive. In fact, I Spy With My Little Eye was created with child development experts to be a play that kids and their families can quite literally “play”. And that’s healthy. Not that your little ones would know it. It’s a bit like hiding vegetables in their bolognese. All they know is that they love it, and we can feel great about it because we know that they’re getting all the good stuff that they need to grow up happy and well. So family theatre is healthy, but I can’t emphasise enough that, above and beyond that, it is also brilliant fun.
If you’re going to get yourself an agent (and if you’ve read my last column then you’ll know that you definitely should) the golden rule has to be “get yourself a good one.”