First show at The Hullabaloo

Published: 30 August 2017
Reporter: Peter Lathan

Micky Cochrane (Bear)
Micky Cochrane (Bear) and Robert Welling (Caterpillar) Credit: George Garrick
Robert Welling (Butterfly) and Micky Cochrane (Bear)

The show which will open The Hullabaloo, Darlington’s new children’s theatre venue, has been revealed.

Running from 11 to 31 December, it will be a revival of Theatre Hullabaloo’s 2015 production Bear and Butterfly which played at the Gala in Durham as part of the TakeOff Festival and then toured to 32 venues across the country.

Aimed at children aged 4+, it’s the story of an unlikely friendship between a bear and a caterpillar. The original cast—Micky Cochrane as Bear, Robert Welling as the caterpillar which becomes Butterfly and musician Simon McCorry as Owl—returns and the show features original music and puppetry. As before Dani Parr directs and design is by Bek Palmer. The play is based on an original story by Gordon Poad.

After the Christmas season in Darlington (which includes Christnas Eve and Boxing Day), the production will go on a national tour from mid-January to mid-February 2018.

Alongside Bear and Butterfly, Theatre Hullabaloo has commissioned an installation called Enchanted Forest, where families can visit to play with a fully interactive environment of musical flowers and magical trees specially designed to set young imaginations running wild.

The show and installation are the culmination of an 18-month build period, in which a former Edwardian fire station and adjacent land on Darlington’s Borough Road have been transformed into a purpose-built venue.

“It is incredibly exciting to be opening a national centre of theatre for young audiences here in Darlington," said Miranda Thain, Creative Producer of Theatre Hullabaloo. “We hope that The Hullabaloo will be taken to the hearts of families across our region and beyond, and we're proud to announce that the opening show will be our very own Bear & Butterfly."

“We can't wait to open the doors to children and their families,” added Laura Case, Development Director. “This venue is all about creating and presenting the best work in the best environment for children. We can't wait to welcome our audiences through the doors so that they can play, have fun and make memories. Bear and Butterfly is the perfect show for children and families to start their journey with us.”