Hackney Children’s Theatre, based in the Church of St John-at-Hackney, is doing its bit to attract younger audiences to the theatre by providing shows for youngsters aged three and up.
On Saturday 16 June there’s the interactive puppetry show Who’s in for Tea? and a mime review called Bambolina and Dodo, performed by the acrobatic mime duo Circle of Two.
“It’s a double bill by an amazing company that do really old, traditional circus-type stuff,” says Andrew Coombes, director of Hackney Children’s Theatre and St John-at-Hackney’s artist in residence.
“The performances are in the main space of the church itself,” he adds. “It’s a vast area, and what we’re doing is to try and encourage companies to use the space. The shows that work best are ones that use the space well with lots of moving around.
“When we started last September we had a huge procession which travelled down Mare Street, going in and out of the church with a big samba band and puppets. Then it turned into a little mad adventure in the church, with the children looking for mice. We had characters hiding behind the organ and a crazy vicar chasing tails.”
Adrenalin Dance, a not-for-profit organisation that makes artwork with children, produce the shows and charge an entrance fee of £3.
Andrew says: “There isn’t a lot of children’s theatre in the neighbourhood, apart from the Hackney Empire, which is expensive for a lot of people. We’re completely unsupported so the money comes from whatever we take on the door.
“The company that comes here is faced with these hungry four-year-olds, and you can’t just perform at them, you need to perform with them.”
Who’s in for Tea? and Bambolina and Dodo take place on Sat 16 June at St John at-Hackney Church. Cost: £3.