EastEn­ders’ Barry to per­form in York

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - STAGE -

IT is easy to get con­fused about com­pa­nies like Tutti Frutti.

It gets fund­ing from the Arts Coun­cil, it tours na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, it em­ploys pro­fes­sional ac­tors and it cre­ates new theatre work. So why the con­fu­sion?

Like the brand of theatre known as TIE (Theatre in Ed­u­ca­tion), the work cre­ated by Tutti Frutti is aimed at a spe­cific au­di­ence – young people. When a com­pany con­cen­trates on mak­ing work for young­sters, al­though the tide is slowly turn­ing in this re­gard, it has for a num­ber of years been ghet­toised.

For some rea­son, theatre work cre­ated for young people has, in the past, been less re­garded than theatre made for adults. The same, per­haps, goes for other me­dia – books and tele­vi­sion made for young people isn’t al­ways given the credit it feels it de­serves. Ask any­one who makes that work if it’s any eas­ier to cre­ate it and you will get a re­sound­ing an­swer. And more than likely a flea in your ear.

Es­pe­cially if you ask the people be­hind Tutti Frutti.

The Leeds theatre com­pany has been mak­ing work for young people aged three and over since 1991. Work­ing on orig­i­nal plays, book adap­ta­tions and a mix of the two, the com­pany has toured to thou­sands of chil­dren over the past two decades and now the stan­dard it has achieved is set to be recog­nised with an in­vi­ta­tion to per­form in an in­ter­na­tional gath­er­ing of the best theatre for young people in the world.

Last year Tutti Frutti toured Mike Kenny’s Rapunzel to the­atres and schools to high ac­claim. This sum­mer it’s pro­duc­tion of Mon­day’s Child, cur­rently on tour, has been selected to be part of this year’s York­shire Fes­ti­val.

Adding to the feath­ers in the com­pany’s cap is the fact that it has been cho­sen as the only UK theatre com­pany to travel to War­saw next week to take part in As­sitej World Congress.

AS­SITEJ, the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Theatre for Chil­dren and Young People, (As­so­ci­a­tion In­ter­na­tionale du Théâtre de l’En­fance et la Je­unesse) was es­tab­lished in 1965 as an in­ter­na­tional al­liance of pro­fes­sion­als in­volved in theatre for chil­dren and young people.

The congress, which takes place ev­ery three years, is a show­case for some of the best theatre for chil­dren from across the world. To per­form at the congress you have to be selected by the host­ing coun­try and As­sitej panel. Tutti Frutti is one of 22 com­pa­nies cho­sen.

Artis­tic di­rec­tor Wendy Har­ris says: “We are ab­so­lutely thrilled to have been selected for a pres­ti­gious place on this world stage and we look for­ward to both show­ing our work to our in­ter­na­tional part­ners but also to en­gag­ing in con­ver­sa­tion with them.

“We hope the congress will cre­ate more op­por­tu­ni­ties for the com­pany to de­velop re­la­tion­ships with venues across the world. We are proud to be rep­re­sent­ing child-friendly Leeds, York­shire and as the only com­pany from the UK per­form­ing at the congress.”

The motto of the 2014 Congress is Fac­ing the Au­di­ence theatre for chil­dren and young people who un­der­stand the changes its view­ers are un­der­go­ing, fol­lows them and re­acts to them. Spe­cial fo­cus will be given to three themes: theatre for the very youngest, theatre for teenagers and in­clu­sive theatre. Af­ter its per­for­mances at the Congress in late May, Tutti Frutti’s Mon­day’s Child will head to Hong Kong for a week long run at the Hong Kong Drama Theatre. ONE Man, Two Guvnors will take to stage in York as part of its na­tional tour.

The Na­tional Theatre’s award-win­ning com­edy, which orig­i­nally starred James Cor­den, is di­rected by Ni­cholas Hyt­ner. Gavin Spokes plays chancer Fran­cis Hen­shall and Char­lie Clench is to be played by Shaun Wil­liamson, best known as Barry in EastEn­ders.

The show comes to the Grand Opera House in York from March 9 to 14 next year. For tick­ets call the box of­fice on 0844 871 3024 or on­line at www.at­gtick­ets.com

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