A spongy new adventure

A brand new show for early years children is coming to Accrington for two performances this October.

“Sponge” from Turned On Its Head, will visit Accrington Library on Thursday 20 October for performances at 12.30pm and 2.15pm. Tickets for the show, which is suitable for babies ages 6 months up to children aged four and their grown ups, can be booked directly from library staff or by emailing accrington.library@lancashire.gov.uk.

The show is a new commission from Big Imaginations, a consortium bringing brilliant children’s theatre to the North West, that pushes the boundaries of creative play.

“Sponge” embraces all things spongy. Alluding to a child’s ability to soak things up ‘like a sponge’, a lovely piece of cake, or simply the springy, squashy, malleable, texture which fascinates us and children alike. Set to an original score fused with 1970s interludes by composers such as Henry Mancini, the performers will reveal and explore small and large scale sponge environments and props for children to squash, roll, pop and squeeze.

Liz O’Neill CEO of Z-arts in Manchester who head up the Big Imaginations consortium said:

“We’re so excited to be able to be able to bring Turned on Its Head back for a brand-new special adventure to delight Big Imaginations audiences across the North West. It’s so important to give babies and toddlers the chance for creative play with something so visually spectacular to inspire and entrance them.”

Sponge premiered at Just So Festival in August 2016 and is now travelling the country before ending its tour in 2016 at The Barbican in London for a series of Christmas performances before continuing to delight and entertain early years children and their grown-ups in 2017.

Turned on its Head, who created the show, is led by dance artists Liz Clark and Oksana Tyminska, based in the East Midlands.

Artistic Director Liz Clark says:

“We want to make theatre that places experiences of the child at the heart of it. For me, making this work was a response to the frustrations of taking my own non-hearing son to theatre performances and him not understanding that he couldn’t get on stage or touch the magical world that was being presented. Oksana and I wanted to create theatre that was close up, personal, invitational and above all, inclusive. Why shouldn’t a child’s first experience of theatre be about being so close to the performer they can touch them?

“We also want to co-create our theatre with our audience. What you’ll find when you come to see our work is that the children become immersed in the theatrical experience on their own terms and our performances give space for engaging and respecting each child’s response. We incorporate improvisation with the children and their families as active participants in telling the story. The result is beautifully moving theatre which is about each child’s own journey.“

The Accrington shows form part of Spot On Lancashire’s autumn season of touring, taking professional arts events to rural venues and libraries across the county.

For more information about all the shows or to see the full Spot On season programme, visit www.spotonlancashire.co.uk, call Sue Robinson on 01254 660360 or email hello@spotonlancashire.co.uk.