3 Family Musicals will bring some magical Winter cheer for young theatre-goers

Rehearsals for The Lightless Pumpkin, and The Lightless Pumpkin Returns – by She Productions. Photo: Paolo Deyes.

Following the success of previous sell-out family shows, She Productions will produce 3 more musicals this year supported by Arts Council England.

She Productions, East Riding Theatre’s Company in Residence, have created a programme of interactive and informal productions to enable children to experience the magic of theatre from a young age. These projects also offer a professional mentorship scheme for young aspiring theatre-makers and childcare subsidy to support actors who are parents or caregivers.

The popular adventures of the The Lightless Pumpkin, two tales about a runaway pumpkin who helps others to welcome diversity and uniqueness, will offer locals a Halloween Double Bill.

The Lightless Pumpkin Returns runs at East Riding Theatre in collaboration with Beverley Library, leading the audience on a short procession between ERT and the library as part of the adventure.

Whilst, The Lightless Pumpkin, the first tale, will head to Fruit Market, Humber Street, where the audience will promenade down the street to meet new characters along the way.

These promenade shows are designed to avoid having to sit in one place for too long, immersing audiences into the story and using the locations we visit as the backdrop.

Company member and writer, Jessica Duffield said: “It’s so exciting that, what began 4 years ago, is growing and reaching new audiences in Hull and the East Riding. 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!”

As part of the company mission to offer a platform for emerging local talent, She Productions have employed a young local theatre-maker for each family show this and upskilled them in an area of their choice. Hull Uni Theatre student, Fiona Hope Wright, is the next successful applicant, who will be taking on the role of Director for our Halloween bill.

Fiona says: “I’m so excited to be directing these shows for She Productions. I have looked up to the company for years and am thrilled and extremely grateful to have my first professional job with them”.

To finish off the year with some festive fun is a brand-new Christmas cracker, The Fairy That Fell Off the Christmas Tree, which 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, Little Women.  After Fairy takes a tumble, the decorations must find a replacement otherwise Christmas will be ruined! With set, costumes & props made entirely out of recycled and second-hand 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. 

She Productions’ aims to ensure that shows are 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 some captioning and British Sign Language into the Christmas production.

As the company has grown over the last 4 years, they aim to develop their inclusivity policy for audience and artists. This programme of shows has been their first to include extra financial support for actors with children, which is often neglected in the theatre industry.

Allison Saxton, who performed earlier in the year 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.”

The Lightless Pumpkin Returns runs from 29th-31st October at 2pm & 4pm and begins at East Riding Theatre.

The Fairy Who Fell Off the Christmas Tree runs 17th-31st December at 10.30am & 2.30pm in the East Riding Theatre cafe bar.

Tickets can be booked online at www.eastridingtheatre.co.uk or via the box office on 01482 874050. 

The Lightless Pumpkin runs on 1st & 2nd November, 2pm & 4pm and begins at Fruit Market, Humber Street, Hull, HU1 1UU.

Tickets for this can be bought at www.hulltruck.co.uk or via the box office on 01482 323638.

[Annie Kirkman – She Productions]