TakeOff 2019 shows announced

Published: 21 September 2019
Reporter: Peter Lathan

The shows for the October 2019 Takeoff Festival of children’s theatre in Co Durham (plus a show or two in Hexham!), organised by Darlington's Theatre Hullabaloo, have been announced. They are:

Lullaby—Sonic Cradle

(Performance in Arlington House, Durham, 26 October)

Aimed at ages 0–5. A contemporary musical exploration of nighttime sounds interspersed with lullabies from India. Inspired by the songs Indian women sing to their babies whilst working in the fields, Lullaby—Sonic Cradle is a semi-improvised performance that combines live music, vocals and instruments with a technologically-driven soundscape linked to a visual display that ‘dances’ to the changing rhythms, pitches and volume of the performance.


(Performances at The Witham, Barnard Castle 22 October; Gala, Durham 23–26 October; Queen’s Hall, Hexham 28 October; The Hullabaloo, Darlington 29 & 30 October)

For ages 2–4. Jump onto a soft cloud and feel the wind whirling and whispering as two dancers make the space around you twist and turn. Everything is changing. Look up or move a little closer, you may catch a glimpse of a shape, a figure or someone in the sky.

Hide and Seek

(Performances at Pelton CC 22 October and at Gala, Durham 23–26 October)

For ages 2–5. Two siblings have been put to bed for the night, but these children have more exciting plans in mind. Become part of their simple game as they invent new ways to play hide-and-seek. In "a rediscovery of the pleasure of hiding oneself in order to discover oneself", Hide-and-Seek invites audiences to experience the acrobatic adventures that ensue past these children’s bedtime. (Performed in French and English.)


(Performances at The Hullabaloo, Darlington 23–26 October)

For ages 3–6. Join two dancers and a live musician as they use their eyes and ears, noses and mouths, fingers and feet to discover a world of play that "makes the ordinary extraordinary". A non-verbal performance suitable for Deaf, deafened or hard of hearing audiences.


(Performances at Durham Town Hall 26 October)

For ages 4–7. A show which is entirely sung about four birds and one nest. Nobody understands their jibber jabber lingo. What if we don’t speak the same language, but still manage to understand each other? Maybe, before long, we won’t be strangers anymore.


(Performances at Blackhall CC 25 October and Durham Town Hall 26 October)

For ages 5+. Arthur and Marta are two very old puppeteers who have been together for life. The poor orphan boy, Max, is being bullied—and is always longing to fly, even when he starts travelling with a circus. But one day, he meets the giraffe woman Lily and the great love that might give him wings.

Playful Tiger

(Performances at Gala, Durham 25 October)

A highly physical, interactive dance performance, specially created for children and young people who are profoundly autistic and mainly non-verbal. A troubled family’s world turns upside down when a mischievous tiger visits. Interacting directly with the audience, it tells the story through the eyes of the child, with a focus on sensory engagement.

Tiger Tale

(Performances at Gala, Durham 26 October)

For ages 7+. Something wild is prowling. She can hear it through her bedroom walls, but her mum and dad seem stuck in the dull routines of their everyday lives. Until one day, the wild breaks in and everything changes.

My Friend Selma

(Performances at Greenfield CC, Shildon 22 October and Gala, Durham 24 October)

For ages 8+. The real-life story of one girl’s journey from war in Bosnia to safety in the UK. It is the tale of an incredible journey, a world turned upside down, loss, friendship, courage and conkers.

Is This a Dagger?

(Performances at the Queen’s Hall, Hexham 21 October and Gala, Durham 26 October)

For ages 8+ A tale of foul and fortune, murder and deceit, Macbeth is a gory, bloody and darkly wonderful tale of one man and his pursuit of power. In Is This a Dagger? The Story of Macbeth, Andy Cannon distils the essence of this epic play into a one-man, one-hour version for audiences young and old.

There Is a Noise

(Performances at The Hullabaloo, Darlington 23 October)

For ages 13+. From the diary of a 16-year-old grandmother in 1945 to the narrative of escaping war as a child, this piece investigates memory. The audience is invited to sit around a table while stories unfold around them in the midst of frying waffle ooze. The play looks at the blurry line between facts, memories and emotions of experiencing war as a child and questions how to retell. The piece dives in to the confusion and unease of carrying such a story with you and the difficulty of sharing it.


(Performances at The Hullabaloo, Darlington 23 & 24 October)

For ages 9+. Paloma has always mucked about with Pichón. They run wild. They dress up like tigers, flamenco dancers, queens, kings, rabbits and Lady Gaga. Life is fun and funny and a little bit loopy. Until one day, a blinding white light lands on Paloma. Embarrassed and confused, her days of dressing up, running wild and mucking about with Pichón seem to be over… Slowly, Paloma begins to realise all the things she has lost. Created with an international ensemble, Muckers is a quest for self-acceptance, with original songs and quite a lot of Spanish.

Family Day

The Family Day in various venues in Durham City will be on 26 October. Details TBA.