ARC Stockton and the Albany announce two new festive co-commissions

An illustration of a large penguin and a smaller one hugging. Accompanying text is the title and author, plus info on when and where the production is on.

Both shows will be performed at ARC and the Albany in 2023 and 2024.

Can’t Sit Still and LAStheatre will create new pieces of family theatre to be performed to audiences at both ARC and the Albany in December 2023 and 2024.

The commission involves a grant of £44,000 for each company to develop their show, as well as up to four weeks R&D and rehearsal space, and production, technical and marketing support.

19 companies applied for the commission. This year’s commissioning process follows six years of successful commissions from theatre companies such as Kitchen Zoo (The Tin Foil Astronaut), Wrongsemble (The Snow Queen) and tutti frutti (The Ugly Duckling).

Can’t Sit Still create new, devised performances and projects spanning theatre, circus, and live music. They have previously adapted author and illustrator Chris Haughton’s Oh No, George! for the stage, and are now bringing his latest picture book, Well Done, Mummy Penguin, to life. Well Done, Mummy Penguin will be performed at ARC from 5-23 December 2023, and tickets are on sale now. It will then travel to the Albany in December 2024 (tickets will be on sale early 2024).

LAStheatre creates layered, urgent, heart-driven stories that engage people of all ages. These tales tackle important and complex ideas in surprising, joyous and participatory ways. Their commissioned show, The Light Princess, will reimagine the classic fairytale as a joyful family show, gently exploring individuality, friendship, creativity and the social model of disability. The show will be performed at the Albany from 2-24 December 2023 and tickets are on sale now. It will then come to ARC in December 2024 (tickets will be on sale early 2024).

The Light Princess by LAStheatre show artwork. Gradient from dark purple with forest to rainbow colours. Silhouette of two girls flying above a kingdom. One of the girls is in a wheelchair with balloons attached.
The Light Princess by LAStheatre

Annabel Turpin, Artistic Director at ARC, said: “We are really excited to have the chance to work with these companies as they create new shows, and to share them with our audiences. It’s fantastic to be working with Can’t Sit Still again, as our audiences loved their previous production, Oh No, George!, and to be welcoming LAStheatre to ARC, a company we have long admired.”

Vicki Amedume, Creative Director of the Albany, said: “We are delighted to be working with ARC once again to commission two exciting new shows. We have already welcomed LAStheatre into our building for a week of R&D working with local children from Tidemill Academy, and we can’t wait to see how their ideas come to life on stage this Christmas.”

Can’t Sit Still said: “We are over the moon to be awarded this commission by two such brilliant venues. We’re particularly excited to return to Stockton, where we first began adapting Chris Haughton’s brilliant books for the stage, and to co-create this show with local children there. We can’t wait to dive into the icy Antarctic waters to see what bonkers and brilliant ways we can come up with to bring Chris’ beautiful illustrations to life.”

LAStheatre said: “We feel so privileged to have received this commission from the Albany and ARC to create a winter show for (and with) their communities in Lewisham and Stockton. We have long admired these cultural powerhouses and we are excited to be joining forces! In this re-telling of the classic tale, yes, the Light Princess floats but it’s the world that needs to change. A kiss from a prince is not going to cut it this time.”

Book tickets for Well Done, Mummy Penguin at ARC Stockton in December 2023.

Book tickets for The Light Princess at the Albany in December 2023.

Cover illustration for Well Done, Mummy Penguin.