News and Previews

Little Mochi

CHILDREN’S THEATRE MAGAZINE – NEWS: A Thousand Cranes takes their story of a tiny Japanese cake called the Little Mochi Man on tour (and it’s a really rice story)

A little ball of rice is at the centre of The Little Mochi Man as he travels across the mountains of Hokkaido and somehow survives without being eaten.
The theatre company A Thousand Cranes (in association with artsdepot) are behind the drama for children aged three to seven.
The company describes the show in these terms: “It’s almost New Year and little Mochi Man, tired of being bullied because of his small size, decides to run away. Join him on his adventures as he travels from the snowy mountains of Hokkaido, to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, meeting many wondrous creatures and characters along the way, including The Gingerbread Man and a very fast bullet train.”
The company say they use origami puppets, animation and specially composed music as they introduce children to the country of Japan along with some of its culture. A Thousand Cranes was founded by director and writer Vicky Ireland and performer Kumiko Mendl in 2006.
The 50 minute show is on a national tour from January 28th to May 30th 2018 with venues that include: Watermans, Half Moon, artsdepot, the egg, Nuffield, Greenwich Theatre, The Cockpit, Cambridge Junction, The Courtyard,Hereford, Polka Theatre, Stratford Circus, The Civic Barnsley, Little Angel and Salisbury Playhouse.
A mochi is a ball of rice rather like a sweet cake and has a long tradition as a popular delicacy especially at New Year and is made from a short grain glutinous mochigome rice. Hence the name.
More details at

There’s more children’s theatre at and at



Tiddler and other Terrific Tales is on tour this spring. Photo Robin Savage

Tiddler and other Terrific Tales is on tour this spring. Photo Robin Savage










CHILDREN’S THEATRE MAGAZINE – NEWS: Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales goes on tour (staged by the team behind Stick Man) Full tour dates listed)

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales directed by Sally Cookson is currently on a marathon tour starting in Bromley and continuing until June when it ends in Bury St Edmunds. The production is by the team behind Stick Man Live, a play that has also visited theatres across the country in the last few years. It is an original Scamp Theatre production staged this time by Freckle Productions. More details at

Under the sea, out on the farm and into the jungle, these terrific tales are woven together with live music, puppetry and a whole host of colourful characters from Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler’s best-loved titles: Tiddler, Monkey Puzzle, The Smartest Giant in Town and A Squash and a Squeeze

More children’s theatre at

Tour dates


  • 10 – 11 Feb BROMLEY Churchill Theatre020 3285 6000
  • 12 – 13 Feb RICHMOND Theatre0844 871 7651
  • 15 – 18 Feb BRISTOL Old Vic0117 987 7877
  • 19 Feb GUILDFORD G Live01483 369350
  • 22 – 23 Feb CARDIFF Sherman Theatre029 2064 6900
  • 24 – 25 Feb TAUNTON The Brewhouse01823 283 244
  • 26 – 27 Feb BOURNEMOUTH Pavilion Theatre0844 576 3000

MARCH 2018

  • 1 -3 Mar DARTFORD Orchard Theatre01322 220000
  • 4 Mar LONDON artsdepot020 8369 5454
  • 12 – 13 Mar SOUTHPORT Theatre0844 871 3021
  • 16 – 18 Mar SALFORD QUAYS The Lowry0843 208 6010
  • 26 – 27 Mar LLANDUDNO Venue Cymru01492 872000
  • 28 Mar LYTHAM ST ANNES Lowther Pavilion01253 794 221
  • 30 Mar – 3 Ap BIRMINGHAM Town Hall0121 780 3333

APRIL 2018

  • 5 -6 Apr COLCHESTER Mercury01206 573948
  • 7 Apr READING Hexagon0118 960 6060
  • 8 -9 Apr WATFORD Palace Theatre01923 225671
  • 11 – 15 Apr LONDON Leicester Square Theatre020 7734 2222
  • 20 – 21 Apr NEWCASTLE Tyne Theatre & Opera House0844 249 1000
  • 22 – 23 Apr LINCOLN New Theatre Royal01522 519999
  • 29 – 30 Apr YEOVIL Octagon Theatre01935 422884

MAY 2018

  • 4 -6 May HERTFORD Theatre01992 531500
  • 7 May CRAWLEY The Hawth01293 553636
  • 8 – 9 May WINCHESTER Theatre Royal01962 840 440
  • 11 – 12 May CORBY The Core at Corby Cube01536 470470
  • 13 – 14 May CANTERBURY Gulbenkian01227 769075
  • 20 May NOTTINGHAM Playhouse0115 941 9419
  • 22 May ILKLEY King’s Hall01274 432000
  • 23 May MIDDLESBROUGH Theatre01642 81 51 81
  • 25 – 27 May LONDON Leicester Square Theatre020 7734 2222
  • 28 – 30 May SOUTHEND Palace Theatre01702 351135

JUNE 2018

  • 1 – 3 Jun BURY ST EDMUNDS Theatre Royal01284 769505



CHILDREN’S THEATRE MAGAZINE – NEWS: the Scottish play to tour schools in London and the North of England this spring (but not Scotland)

Following a successful tour to schools and performances in the Dorfman Theatre earlier in 2017, in which nearly 5,000 students saw Macbeth, the production now begins a tour to a further 31 schools and colleges across Doncaster, London, Sunderland and Wakefield. Macbeth is adapted and directed for teenage audiences by Justin Audibert and the production is a bold contemporary retelling of one of Shakespeare’s darkest plays. Amid bloody rebellion and the deafening drums of war, Macbeth and his wife will stop at nothing to fulfil their ambition. Witchcraft, murder, treason and treachery are all at play in this murky world. The cast includes Nana Amoo-Gottfried, Shazia Nicholls, Gabby Wong, Stephanie Levi John, Adrian Richards, Tamara Camacho, Johndeep More and Kenton Thomas. Speaking about the production director, Justin Audibert said: “Macbeth is a tale of ambition, dark magic, violence and love; the perfect combination for an audience of young adults. We have made our version as exciting and visceral as possible, a truly sensory experience.” The tour will begin by visiting 15 schools in London, followed by a further 16 schools across Doncaster, Sunderland and Wakefiel. Speaking about the schools tours the National Theatre’s Director of Learning, Alice King-Farlow said: “At the NT we believe that all young people should have the opportunity to take part in theatre and drama while at school and so I am delighted that we’re touring Justin’s contemporary 90 minute adaptation of Macbeth to schools across London and in the North of England this year as part of our new national partnership programme.” The enterprise is backed by money from the Mohn Westlake Foundation, The Ingram Trust, the Archie Sherman Charitable Trust, the Behrens Foundation, and Jill and David Leuw, while the National Theatre recieves financial support from Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Macbeth is on the core reading guide for school exams this year. See our round up of plays and novels that are part of core reading studies in GCSE and A level courses this year that are being staged across the country at ———————————————————-

Ugly Duckling Production_Mark Dawson Photography_DSC_0325

PREVIEW A universal story of a misfit duckling on a journey of self discovery by Travelling Light at the Tobacco Factory this festive season

Originally published by Hans Christian Anderson in 1843 the story of the Ugly Duckling is considered to be the work of the Danish author known for collecting and writing folk and fairy stories. It is a universal coming of age story which tells of how an odd looking duckling is teased and bullied for looking different but eventually emerges as a swan. In this Travelling Light production originally directed by Sally Cookson the story features the theatre company’s trademark joyful and moving style of storytelling, with live music from Benji Bower. The director for this production is Craig Edwards. The show runs from Sun 10 – Fri 15 December 10.30am, and Fri 15 December 2.30pm – Sun 14 January 2018. There’s a relaxed performance on Tue 02 January 1.30pm. Running Time approx. 45mins. Age Recommendation 2+ and their families. For tickets visit; Tobacco Factory Theatres, Raleigh Road, Southville, Bristol BS3 1TF.


PREVIEW Ancient folk tale of a beautiful daughter and a mysterious beast in a dark forest set for Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatre

Beauty - or rather Belle - is played Sara Lessore in this production

Beauty – or rather Belle – is played by Sara Lessore in this production at the Tobacco Factory in Bristol

Although film versions may cloud the imaginations of audiences for the Tobacco Factory’s Christmas season production of Beauty and the Beast the original story is likely to have evolved several thousand years ago. One theory is that its original theme may be a collective folk memory of our encounters with Neanderthals as we populated Europe after the last Ice Age. How true that is up for debate but like most fairy stories its roots lie in the dark forests of an ancient world. Then wild animals were to be feared, hunted and revered – often being given human characteristics. The universal story became crystallised when it was incorporated and retold in France in the 18th century in a collection of stories penned by Gabrielle-Suzanne Bardot de Villeneuve after which several versions were published by various authors. Each time the story was embellished by the new writer it was in order to satisfy the growing expectations of potential readers with an eye on sales. Themes include animalistic fantasies associated with ancient folk stories, arranged marriages, sibling jealousy, the desire for wealth and luxury, of not judging people on their looks and of goodness eventually triumphing over evil. These remain at the core of the story but the back story to Beauty’s life as a child in a large family, whether or not she has a suitor before meeting the Beast, and also how the Beast is actually portrayed, vary throughout the numerous TV and film version. A red rose is the one ingredient that has remained constant within the narrative – a gift of dramatists and designers of posters and programmes. Beauty lives with her impoverished family after their father’s business collapses. He meets the wealthy Beast and makes a promise that his daughter will marry him in order to restore the family fortunes. Beauty’s only wish is not for luxuries but for a red rose as they don’t grow where she lives. Following her visit to the Beast’s house she secretly wishes to return home despite the Beast’s hospitality and romantic overtures. She returns home with a magic mirror and ring. The mirror allows her to see the Beast is dying of heart ache so she returns to the Beast but discovers he is in fact a handsome prince who has been turned into a monster by a magic spell. OK – that’s some of the content of the story – there are several variations so it will be interesting to see this one. The publicity image shows the actor playing Beauty along with a forest and red rose – so those are featured – and it should be said the actor is of course beautiful. Last year’s dark retelling of Cinderella by the theatre was criticised by this magazine for being aimed too much at adults and being too scary for small children so it will be interesting to see if this play reaches out to five years olds. Directed by Alex Byrne with musical direction by Elliot Davis the cast features Martin Bonger as the Beast and Sara Lessore as Beauty – or rather Belle – the name given to the protagonist in most versions. The Tobacco Factory Theatre has teamed up with New International Encounter and Cambridge Junction for this “mischievous and music-filled co-production.” It runs from Thursday, 30 November 2017 to Sunday 14 January 2018. Harry Mottram Age: 5+ To book tickets or for more information visit ———————————————————–

PREVIEW Snow White and her seven ‘accomplished short actors’ bring a traditional panto to Bath

The cast line up for a photo call for the production in Bath

The cast line up for a photo call for the production in Bath

Artistic director Michael Gattrell returns to the Theatre Royal Bath to direct a traditional pantomime at the city’s main space with a production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Along with Danielle Drayton engineering choreography and Oliver Rew as musical director it is the same trio who staged last year’s pantomime version of Aladdin. Back then there was interest in how Gattrell would fill the shoes of the late Chris Harris who had directed and appeared in numerous pantomimes at the theatre as well as at the Bristol Old Vic. Last year’s show was noted for its strong dance and choreography content thanks to Rew and a tight and fast paced production aided by a first class cast on top form. Based on that evidence then it is likely this year’s will be a comic drama combined with a variety show feel and above all accessible to children. The theatre has lined up a cast that has experience of film and TV with Harriet Thorpe as the Wicked Queen perhaps the best known with appearances in Absolutely Fabulous while Jon Monie is a popular local actor who can hold an audience in the palm of his hand with ease. Snow White is played by Devon-Elise Johnson while the dwarfs are all ‘accomplished short actors.’ The show runs from Thursday, December 7, to Sunday, January 7th in 2018. To book tickets contact the Theatre Royal Bath Box Office on 01225 448844 or visit