Issue date: Fri 6 May 2016
A show that started life in school halls and went on to play in Europe and New York will highlight the second half of this year’s Greenwich Children’s Theatre Festival during the forthcoming school half term.
Into The West – described by the New York Times as “deeply sensitive and highly imaginative” - will have its 20th anniversary celebration with two performances at the Bathway Theatre in Woolwich on Saturday, May 28.
“The script is an adaptation of Jim Sheridan’s screenplay, subsequently made into a film directed by Mike Newell,” said James Haddrell, Artistic and Executive director of Greenwich Theatre. “Travelling Light Theatre Company adapted it in 1995 as a fledgling company and it made their name.
“I’ve been aware of Travelling Light probably since they began and I’ve been looking for the ideal opportunity to work with them. This is definitely it. We spend so much of our time supporting and celebrating the work of emerging companies – this 20th anniversary revival shows what can happen when a new company gets that opportunity, the long and successful theatre career that can follow.”
Into The West tells the story of two travellers’ children living in a tower block in Dublin who are visited by a white stallion that came from under the sea and takes them on an adventure across Dublin, including a police chase.
The script was written by director Greg Banks, who had worked with Travelling Light before and followed up the idea from producer Jude Merrill. “Jude commissioned me to devise it from the film but to me it seemed so complete that I thought I would just write the script and work on it at rehearsals,” said Greg.
“Initially we wrote it to play in junior schools and it played in little school halls. When you’re making a show you don’t really know what you’ve got, but with this one everyone suddenly thought, wow, we’ve got something here.
“The last time we did it was 15 or 16 years ago, so it was a little bit scary and we wondered if it would be just as good. But people on tour really liked it and were moved by it. We do all the tricks that everyone does these days but mainly it’s just a really good story.”