Free theatre fun for children in Stratford

Louis Lovett in The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly

Louis Lovett in The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly - Credit: Theatre Lovett

The story of Peggy O’Hegarty’s quest to save her parents takes the audience on an epic and playful adventure across the wilderness, battling against the roaring natural elements, in a quirky one-man theatre show.

The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly has been arranged by Newham Council as part of its Every Child a Theatre Goer programme which means that 4,500 children from Newham schools will see it for free, giving disadvantaged children the opportunity to experience the world of theatre.

Written by Irish-Australian writer Finegan Kruckemeyer and performed by acclaimed Irish actor Louis Lovett as part of his family-focused Theatre Lovett, the show recognises how much theatre owes to children and acts as a nostalgic love letter to their flights of fantasy.

Kruckemeyer was influenced by children’s literature, as evident through his use of wordplay and language, mixing the colourful poetic wit of Dr Seuss with the unchartered territories of the imagination, explored by Maurice Sendak in his 1963 children’s classic, Where the Wild Things Are.

The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly, which went on a critically acclaimed tour last year across the US and Australia, revels in the importance of children’s physical play and how keeping children’s imaginative alive and brimming with ideas opens up a world of possibilities for them.

The strikingly original set for the show, designed by Paul O’Mahony, is made up of just a wooden crate that slowly unfolds throughout the show like a pop-up picture book.

“I wanted to confine myself as an actor to a limited space,” Lovett, star of The Girl Who Forgot to Sing Badly and TV shows Killinaskully and Moone Boy, said.

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“I was inspired by children playing and wanted to be like a child in their bedroom on top of their bunk creating a flying carpet.

“I wanted to validate their idea of physical play.”

Newham Council’s Every Child a Theatre Goer programme is in partnership with Stratford Circus, specifically targets all school children in year five and six and aims to inspire creativity and learning within the arts.

“I’m delighted that an initiative like that exists,” Lovett, who is visiting Stratford for the first time, said. “I get such delight from seeing children enjoy something.

“I want them to look up to the adult and also seeing them enjoying it,” he added.

The Girl Who Forgot to Sing will be performed at Stratford Circus in Theatre Square before starting a two and half month tour in Ireland, but right now he’s about set for the Stratford stage.

It will be shown on January 17 at 3pm and 6pm which special showings for Newham schools running from January 13 to 23 at 10:30am and 1:30am. Tickets cost £10 and £30 for family of four and are available from stratford-circus.com

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