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Metta Theatre Takeover Our Family Festival Blog

and tell us all about their new show, The King of Tiny Things…

Kong OTT 3

We (Metta Theatre) have been making and touring theatre for the last decade – in fact as part of our 10th anniversary celebrations we’re somewhat ambitiously staging 10 plays this year – of which our epic circus and puppetry adaptation of The King of Tiny Things is number three! We’ve only been making family work, however, for the last three years, coincidentally (or not at all) when we started our own family (Noah has just turned three and Finn will celebrate his first birthday a few days before our Lowry performance in August). So making this joyous extravaganza of songs, puppetry, juggling slugs, stilt-walking daddy-long-legs and acrobatic baby bats amidst the chaos of nappies and duplo has been our own personal juggle, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

I was inspired to adapt the existing story by celebrated writer/illustrator duo Jeanne Willis and Gwen Millward over two years ago as we read the book night after night after night to our eldest Noah. Since then it’s metamorphosed from something simply fun and circusy to something with a lot more depth and richness. As a company led by a director and a designer it’s become a bit of a trademark that our work is packed full of images and symbols, layers of narrative creating a richly visual and emotional experience. And it’s particularly exciting to bring that process into family work where I think as a sector we can really be challenging our young audiences more – both in terms of form – making imaginative leaps, filling in the gaps themselves and also in terms of content – telling complex, messy stories and not being afraid to shy away from challenging or provocative themes. So I’m particularly pleased with what we’ve created with this show because it covers all bases – there’s silliness and fun, there’s something more provocative and emotionally challenging – and those narratives sit atop each other making it simultaneously appropriate for three year olds, teenagers, thirty-somethings and grandparents.

On a personal note it’s also been a delight to be able to welcome our children into the rehearsal room and process – singing the songs to Noah when I put him to bed – testing new lyrics and seeing which of the tunes get the strongest reactions. We even held a work-in-progress showing at the end of the first week of rehearsals for him and his preschool buddies – a great opportunity to really respond to the interests and focus of the littlies.

As the production prepares to take flight on stage I hope we’ve made a little piece of magic, with something in it for everyone. So spread your wings and fly with us!

See The King of Tiny Things at The Lowry
Thu 6 August
2pm & 4.30pm

For more info & too book tickets, click here

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