Kids’ shows for autumn at Northern Stage

Published: 2 May 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

There’s a variety of shows for children in Northern Stage’s autumn programme which has just been announced.

First up is the Royal Shakespeare Company’s First Encounters with Shakespeare, a new production of The Merchant of Venice, adapted for 7- to 13-year-olds and created in collaboration with the RSC’s regional theatre partners and Associate Schools. In it, young actors from the RSC’s Next Generation company play Jessica and Lorenzo.

Venice is a multicultural melting pot and the trading centre of the world, a place where everything has a value. High stakes are placed on beauty and choices are made on appearance rather than reality. But when one of three boxes holds all you’ve ever wanted, should you really decide on looks alone?

It’s in Stage 2 on 17 October at 1:30 and on 18 and 19 October at 10:30.

Also in Stage 2 (on 25 and 26 October at various times) is The Gingerbread Witch which is aimed at age 4+.

Young twins, Anders (who is deaf) and Aurora (who is hearing) share a very special bond. They live in an old and mystical Scottish village called Oban, where people are kind and friendly but have very little to spare.

Children have been mysteriously disappearing from the village for many years, until one day, Anders and Aurora stumble across an enchanted object and find themselves in the middle of an adventure… Can they solve the riddle of the missing children? And will the strength of their bond defy the odds?

All performances are British Sign Language interpreted.

Slime (29–30 October at 11:00 and 1:00), which encourages 2- to 5-year-olds and their families to squish, squelch and play their way through the show, is suitable for young people with learning disabilities or hearing impairments but is also accessible for all. A surreal show told with a handful of words and lots of slime!

Slug and Caterpillar are starving, and the only leaf left in the garden is just out of reach. Slug thinks they should work together, get the leaf, eat the leaf, play a game, be friends. Caterpillar has other ideas. Slugs are gross, they’re covered in slime and they have terrible taste in music.

Being a slug is hard because everyone thinks you're disgusting!

This show is in Stage 3.

Pulse is presented by Bamboozle, a company with 25 years’ experience creating accessible theatre. There will be two versions of the show on 5 November in Stage 3: an intimate version for audiences of six young people described as having profound and multiple learning disabilities and their family groups (at 11:00, 12:30 and 2:00) and a relaxed version open to all families (at 6:00). It is designed to be particularly suitable for children who use a wheelchair.

In the dustbowl of 1930s America, Patience and Bird are waiting for rain. Clanky Jane arrives with her ‘Cloud-O-Matic’ machine and, with some crazy percussion and a bit of magic, they make the rain come.

The show features special visual effects, puppetry, live music and a sprinkling of water, immersing audiences in the world of Patience, Bird and Clanky Jane.

This year’s Christmas shows include The Snow Queen (30 November to 4 January 2020 at various times), a new Northern Stage production of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic fable, adapted by Laura Lindow, in Stage 1.

For younger children, North East theatre company Kitchen Zoo follows up its sell-out 2018 festive production of The Three Bears at Christmas with Wolf! (23 November to 4 January 2020 at various times), a wintery adventure showing what happens when Jack cries WOLF! (For under-4s and their families.)

Inspired by Aesop’s fable, this show is in Stage 3.