The performers in Lullabub, Eleanor Parsons, Nicky Harley & Rebecca Daltry, share their thoughts on performing in Lullabub and how every moment is part of a wonderful adventure.
On paper, today was filled with the same show three times. Lullabub, an adventure made by Theatre Hullabaloo for toddlers aged 13-30 months. One of the most rewarding but challenging things as an artist is to never allow yourself to recreate. Each performance, each piece, each moment should be present, ever changing and fresh. This is never more true than in children’s theatre. There is no ‘faking it’, there is no ‘sure fire’ and there is no ‘auto-pilot’. So three shows today and each one was so different, from our first audience of nursery school children to show two and three , a mixture of small children and their ‘grown up’ guests (either returning to experience it again or adventuring for the first time). Today’s shows were theatrical expressions of the children watching them within the perimeters of our world. Each child brought with them their own uniqueness and their own personalities.
The playing space? A dream world of clouds, interesting shapes, lights and a live soundtrack of three part harmony became a safe space for children to express themselves in a theatrical setting.
The adventurers? Every child in the room, including children with complex needs, nervous children, children who showed a little reluctance to play at first, children who weren’t sure whether to trust, who thought we were climbing frames, who laughed hysterically, who cried gently, who cried hysterically, who were bemused, who were desperate to join in, who were contented with being a bystander, who needed physical affection from their grown up and those who just wanted to move and make every sound they’ve learnt to date.
What have we learned working on this show? We could write another list but we feel we have exhausted the use of commas for the time being… Let’s just say… A LOT! The most important? Every moment can be part of an adventure. We, as artists, can be that ‘grown up’ that a child sees as a strange and unusual person that moves and makes sounds like them. We can stop what we’re doing and play with a parasol for as long as a child is captivated by it. We can facilitate any adventure, we can all become co-pilots, we can let them set up the game, we can teach a new game, we can give them some creative relief from their lives, we can facilitate their ‘grown ups’ that play doesn’t have to be serious or restrained, that adventure is in every moment; no matter how old we are.
Rebecca “I have rarely been so proud of a piece of theatre that I have helped to create. It feels like having a super power and using it for good. My super power is to create adventure wherever I go. Even if it’s only for a short time, to free children to be children; whatever their circumstances, to play, create and take what they need from the safe space we have made for them.
Nicky “How amazing to be part of something that gives breath and space for children to try out their personalities. To give a soundtrack and become a teammate in every child’s solo expedition. This experience is such a rewarding one. It’s a personal reminder that we are all balls of energy and we are responsible for the energy we send out in the world because it’s a language that even an 11 week old child can understand”.
Ellie “I’m really proud to be part of a piece of art that facilitates free expression for children but also creates a space that allows their ‘grown up’ guests to relax and enjoy the experience of watching the child respond. The children that we perform to teach me how to be a better mum to my daughter”.
Today’s shows were theatrical expressions of the children watching them. They decided, they led, they taught, they took us on an adventure and hopefully we took them on an adventure too.