We’re missing My First Circus’ The Littlest Mermaid who has returned to her underwater kingdom after more than a week at The Garage.
Nearly 1,200 people came to see the show aimed at ages 2-6 and their families. They got to watch and play together as they swam, found starfish, met Dana the dolphin and helped the Littlest Mermaid on her adventures.
We teamed up with All-In Productions and Lost in Translation Circus for the tale of Marina, who sought to become human after exploring the world above the waves.
To do so she had to enter the lair of the evil sea witch – who took the Littlest Mermaid’s voice as payment. Marina falls for the prince whose life she saved, but when he married a princess from a neighbouring kingdom she learned a valuable lesson about true love.
Director Daniel Burgess, of All-In Productions, said: “We began our creative journey with Lost in Translation last summer and, I have to admit, I knew nothing about circus. It made My First Circus: The Circus Child a massive learning curve for the whole team.
“With the massive success of circus and how much of a wonderful experience it was to work with Lost in Translation and The Garage, it felt only obvious we should start planning the next one.
“Knowing more about creating circus was key to choosing the story to adapt and I felt Hans Christian Anderson's Little Mermaid would lend itself to brilliant aerial work and was a wonderful story that needed to be told.”
My First Panto: Jack and the Beansprout actor-musicians Rob Gathercole and Jack Blakey returned to play the fishermen telling the story. They were joined by contemporary circus artist Rob Thorburn and local circus performer Alice Ross who wowed with her acrobatic abilities - which presented some challenges.
“Like anything in a performance, it needs enough rehearsal time for the performers to master what they are being asked to do. As I’m not circus trained, I have to be led by the experts to insure they have enough time,” added Daniel.
“For me, the greatest challenge adding circus to a theatrical show created for young people aged 2-6 and their families is safety. We work long and hard to make sure the performance is safe for the audience and performer, as nowhere else will young people see this level of circus this close up.”
My First Circus: The Littlest Mermaid was a hit with young and old.
Audience member Alison Osborne-Watts said: “What a wonderful show! The production and performance were great and the children loved being able to join in. Lots of happy memories made! Looking forward to coming back soon. Keep up the good work.”
Emma Williams added: “An absolutely amazing performance yet again, you never disappoint. The children and I loved it. I totally recommend My First Circus: The Littlest Mermaid.”
EDP and Norwich Evening News editor David Powles called it a “really lovely family trip out” and said: “It’s testament to the versatility and talent of the young cast of four that during this time we’re treated to songs, comedy, gymnastics, juggling and more.”
Norwich Mumbler said: “It was so lovely to see children do what children do without anyone batting an eyelid - shout out, dance at will, join in, not join in – the show is theirs.”
Rock ‘n’ Roller Baby called the show “a little slice of magic” and added: “There were acrobatics, music and singing as well as dance and quite a bit of clever props and scenery… the kids, of all ages, really enjoyed it.”
Don’t feel sad if you missed out, we’re already hard at work on two more family shows.
All-In Productions are back with My First Play: A Midsummer Night’s Nap, Saturday, 20 July-Sunday, 4 August, a retelling of the Shakespeare classic about forest fairies up to no good. The Fairy King and Queen have fallen out of love and a troupe of awful actors are ready to put on a play but their lead has been turned into a donkey.
That’s followed by My First Panto: Rapunzel, 29 November to 12 January. Kept locked up high in a tower by her mother Dame Gothel, Rapunzel’s world is turned upside down after a chance encounter with a prince.
All-In Productions have begun casting A Midsummer Night’s Nap. Daniel’s juggling that with finishing writing the first draft of Rapunzel so Lloyd Gorman, the composer, can work his magic.
“The shows are a group decision between myself and Adam Taylor, the executive director of The Garage, with some wonderful help from some other lovely people. We’re looking for stories we think are wonderful tales with great role models for young people and that would benefit from getting the My First treatment.”
He said My First Play and My First Panto audiences can look forward to lots of chances to get involved in a relaxed and fun setting come curtain up.
“We’re currently looking at how we will transform the theatre into the woods for A Midsummer Night’s Nap, allowing the audience to be fully transported to another land. As for Rapunzel, well I'm sure you know the story - there is going to be a tower and lots of hair.”
The My First series, he adds, is one of a kind.
“You’re not going to see this sort of theatre anywhere else and it allows families to play together and get their first taste of theatre. It’s really magical.”
For more about My First Play: A Midsummer Night’s Dream and My First Panto: Rapunzel visit www.thegarage.org.uk/event/my-first-play-midsummer-nights-nap and www.thegarage.org.uk/event/my-first-panto-rapunzel