Image from The Tin Foil Astronaut by Von Fox Promotions
We are excited to announce that Alma from Wongsemble’s The Snow Queen and Alba from Kitchen Zoo’s the Tin Foil Astronaut will be your Christmas show heroes of 2021 and 2022. Both shows were selected as part of our ongoing partnership with ARC in Stockton/ the Albany in Deptford to bring bold and memorable theatre experiences to our audiences during the festive period.
You might have joined us for one of these past productions including Nearly There Yet’s Pinocchio, tutti fruitti’s Ugly Duckling, Dumbshow’s Humbug the Hedgehog, or Stuff and Nonsense’s The Man Who Wanted to be a Penguin which have all been created through this commissioning partnership.
Alma and Alba continue the tradition of characters that have a slightly different view or experience of the world and won’t give up until they have accomplished big things. We can’t wait for Wrongsemble and Kitchen Zoo to share these stories with you, our audiences.
The Snow Queen by Wrongsemble is a new show for modern families which celebrates the sense of kindness and community the festive period represents. It's underpinned by a message of sustainability, where the smallest of actions make a big difference, and the youngest of voices speaks the loudest of truths.
Alma is starting to question the tales of cold winters that she's heard about from the adults around her, and in the books she's read. She can't see much change in the seasons, they don't seem to be the same as they used to be, but what can Alma do? In a desperate bid to restore hope to those around her she decides to go in search of the Snow Queen, who she has heard so many stories about. Along the way she might just discover how we all can save the world through one small act of kindness at a time. But first she is determined to make it SNOW! On her search our yellow rainmac adorned hero (reminiscent of a Greta Thunberg) meets a host of wonderful characters who help her understand how she can make a difference.
Wrongsemble said ‘We are delighted to have been awarded this exciting commission to create a brand new festive production of The Snow Queen - which we will reimagine for modern family audiences. In this climate of huge uncertainty, it feels an incredible privilege to be able to plan something so hopeful for the future. We can't wait to work with the communities of ARC and The Albany as we create this show, which places young voices at the heart of its story - at a time when it feels more crucial than ever that these voices are heard’.
You may have seen Wrongsemble at ARC before when they made their reimagined version of The Selfish Giant for our audiences in 2018.
The Tin Foil Astronaut, from Kitchen Zoo is loosely set against the backdrop of the 1969 moon landings and is about believing in ourselves and overcoming adversity. The company have promised audiences can expect a tale told through songs and live music, space-y sound effects, puppets and a smattering of space facts and science fiction.
Alba loves space. Alba has been watching the space race on the TV with excitement and she wants to enter. She has built her rocket. Check. She has her tin foil fuel. Check. She has her walkie talkie. Check. But there is a problem. Magnus Burke, Alba's hero from the TV, running the proceedings, stops her in her tracks. He laughs at her rocket made of scrap and junk. Alba thinks she'll never make it to space. But, her tin foil fuel, imbued with some magic from The Man in the Moon and our audience might just be able to help her blast off after-all.
Kitchen Zoo said ‘It’s imperative to us that theatre for children is given as much recognition as theatre for grownup audiences and that it is made with as much care and attention. We feel like we often lay the foundations of future audiences as we travel around the country performing our work. We are often the first show a child is taken to see or the first experience a new family has at the theatre. By taking a step to a larger platform with The Tin Foil Astronaut we hope we can continue this work of encouraging new audiences to come back to the theatre, or just to see arts venues as spaces they can use and engage with creativity.’
The Tin Foil Astronaut was devised and written by Kitchen Zoo, Bob Nicholson and Hannah Goudie-Hunter, Ruth Mary Johnson and Jeremy Bradfield.
Maybe you have seen Kitchen Zoo at ARC before, in their very first (small scale) version of The Tin Foil Astronaut, or one of their other brilliant shows like The Owl and The Pussycat, or The Three Bears.
At ARC we have been working with the Albany to invite companies to make new Christmas shows with our audiences specifically in mind for a number of years now. We have found that families that visit the Albany are looking for similar experiences to the families who visit us here at ARC.
Annabel Turpin, Artistic Director at ARC said 'These commissions have been a brilliant opportunity for us to look ahead as we think about the kind of work we want to share with our family audiences in the future. It’s fantastic to award this opportunity to two North based companies, and to be able to build on our existing relationships with them to create new work for our audiences.'
Gavin Barlow, Artistic Director at the Albany said: "We have been co-commissioning Christmas shows with ARC for a number of years now, and we always look forward to seeing companies bringing shows designed specifically for our audiences to life. Kitchen Zoo and Wrongsemble have a record of creating work that excites and engages audiences, and have certainly captured our imaginations with their proposals for our 2021 and 2022 commissions.”
Both Kitchen Zoo and Wrongsemble will be exploring how they can work with their young audiences in the development of their shows, through workshops or other engagement activity, giving those audiences the opportunity to influence the work they will eventually see on stage. The Snow Queen and The Tin Foil Astronaut are currently scheduled for December 2021 and 2022, with full details still to be confirmed. The full schedules for both these shows will be available via the Albany and ARC website’s closer to the time.
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