When Scarabeus Aerial Theatre announced it was collaborating with the Little Angel theatre on its first ever show for young children, we were more than a smidgeon excited to see what magical delight the thrilling outdoor company would create with the help of the famous puppetry venue.
With just a few days left to catch the resulting production, which also celebrates the company fond of daring sky-high acrobatic feats’ 25th anniversary, Daniela Essart, Scarabeus Aerial Theatre’s Artistic Director, exclusively offered us 10 insights into what to expect from the show which, we think, also offer 10 tantalising reasons to head over to Queen’s Wood this week.
1. La Tempesta is inspired by La Tempête, a wonderful French storybook by Florence Seyvos and Claude Ponti.
2. The action takes place on two stages with the audience seated in the space between. On one side a floating bed stage is rigged between the trees, whilst opposite a family eco-home is built on a scaffolding tower from recycled and up-cycled materials that the three characters – Maya and her mother and father – have collected on their travels.
3. The story could best be described as an adventure story about how a family’s bond keeps them together and how love can help people to survive the worst of storms.
4. The show takes place under a canopy of green trees in beautiful Queen’s Wood, one of the oldest woods in London. It’s a very special place with an enchanting natural soundtrack of birds and animals. You have to do a little journey through the woods to get to the performance so by the time you get there you will have experienced some magic already.
5. Audiences follow and interact with the story as it moves between the puppet world and the real world of the life-size performers.
6. La Tempesta is very colourful. We decided that the family has been travelling all over the world so they have picked bits and pieces from different cultures. Their costumes are made from patchworks: polka dots mixed with African fabric.
7. The soundtrack is similarly an eclectic mix of world music. Hardly any words are spoken so the visual performance and the music lead the audience through the story.
8. We’re collaborating with the Little Angel theatre for the first time on the production. I first came to love their work as a mother when my daughter was younger. I greatly admire the way their shows for children are never patronising and they always try to push boundaries. This is also the first time they have created an outdoor show, so it’s very special!
9. La Tempesta is also our first show for young children, but we have done lots of projects with families in the past. One of our most popular is Airborne Families, a programme we started eight years ago. We use aerial techniques, yoga, theatrical exercises and storytelling to reinforce the bond between parents and young children.
10. This year at Scarabeus we celebrate our 25th anniversary. Our next project is called Paradise Lost? and it will take place on 18 and 19 October on a 40-metre high tower in the middle of Archway. It’s a controversial building, ideal to be ‘painted’ by the human body in flight, and we will make it looking beautiful!
La Tempesta is suitable for children aged three to seven-years-old and plays at Queen’s Wood, Highgate until 18 August. Visit the Jackson’s Lane website for for more information.