EastEnders’ Barry to perform in York
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