Children say so much without speaking says writer of new 2024 show Hermit

Children's show Hermit is about the tall man pictured inside the small box her calls home

Talking is just one of the hundred ways young children communicate. Their non-verbal reactions are often worth a thousand words. Hermit, the latest show by the Dutch Simone de Jong Company, explores that. 

Aimed at ages two-six, it’s a silly, funny, and intriguing show about a quiet, tall man who lives alone in a teeny tiny house. Happy to keep his door shut to the outside world. 

Full of movement and original music but no words, audiences must win his trust to get an invite inside.

Artistic director and writer Simone is educated in modern mime / physical theatre and music theatre. She teaches professionals and children and is the author of two children’s novels.

Simone’s inspired by the language of the body, conversations with children, vulnerable people, and above all music. She’s worked with Orkater, including her own programme Ganz Kleines Mädchen.

Simone says when we’re young, humans are much alike. Things get different as we learn more social behaviour and cultural conventions.

“Hermit for me is about people that don’t know exactly how to relate to other people. I’d like children to see that someone a bit different or weird, can still be special.

“Young children are very open. It is moving to see them in Egypt, China, England, or Portugal laugh at the same moments and recognize the same emotions in Hermit.”

Children are naturally keen to discover. They do this via sensory stimulus – light, shadow, sound, forms, movement, atmosphere, laughter, etc.

Simone adds: “We connect with this world in our performances and with the children while challenging them at the same time. 

“Our work is very physical. By mirroring what happens on stage and having some time afterwards to move and play themselves, they process what they have seen and relate with the performer.”

She thinks their grown-ups will enjoy it too.

“The world of the senses is also still very important for adults. To stay curious, keep on looking, seeing, exploring. If you have forgotten how to, just look at the children. They are naturals.”

This way of looking at early years education is called the Reggio Emilia approach. The Scottish government commissioned a report into how the system might be included in state education. It’s won international awards in France, Denmark, and Italy.

Hermit will be here at 11.30am and 2pm on 9 April. Tickets are £15 (£8.50 concessions). There’s still plenty to enjoy in our theatre over spring and summer. Find out more about our new Access Scheme.

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