The Shakespeare 4 Kidz Theatre Company

Our acclaimed Theatre Company produces has introduced millions of children and young people to the world of William Shakespeare.

Daytime performances ensure that school parties can attend during school time and our evening shows are suitable for every member of the family.

Combining an introduction to Shakespeare with a visit to a professional theatre makes the IDEAL SCHOOL TRIP.

S4K's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM TO TOUR IN 2015

 

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Our Revels Now Are Ended ...
Tuesday, 26 March 2013

The 2013 tour of S4K’s The Tempest ended yesterday (Monday 25 March) with a return visit to the Theatre Royal Wakefield to perform the shows that were lost to the snow back in January.

051_s4k the tempest 2013 (copyright elyse marks) 500.jpg

As ever, there was “never a dull moment” – snow caused chaos back in January when shows in Wakefield were cancelled at the very last minute due to snow (we were actually on stage at the time!); the shows in King’s Lynn were cancelled before we even got there; the cast coach got caught up in the snowy conditions on the way to Worthing and they had to spend the night in a Pease Pottage car park! We were headline news the following morning live on Sky News.

It was not all snow-dodging though – we spent three weeks in the sunny Arabian Gulf touring Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Thanks are also due to our partners and colleagues at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon – where we rehearsed and opened the show back in January.

We launched our iProgramme app too – our innovative show programme for S4K’s The Tempest which can be downloaded free to Apple and Android devices. We’re certain to see more of these in the years to come.

As Prospero (sort of) said “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and now it’s time for a well-earned sleep” – thanks to everyone who came to see us.

 
S4K's The Tempest 2013 UK dates
Wednesday, 28 November 2012

We are delighted to announce details of our 2013 UK tour of S4K’s The Tempest.

The show will open with an evening performance at the Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon on Monday 14 January, where it also plays at 10.30am and 1.30pm the next day. Further dates in January are at the Assembly Hall Theatre, Tunbridge Wells (Wednesday 16); The Hawth, Crawley (Thursday 17); King’s Lynn Corn Exchange (Friday 18); Theatre Royal & Opera House, Wakefield (Monday 21); Wolverhampton Grand Theatre (Tuesday 22) and The Lowry in Salford Quays (Wednesday 23).

The show then travels to the Arabian Gulf where it will pay for four weeks in Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Oman. These dates and venues will be announced soon.

Back in the UK the tour continues until Thursday 21 March, playing the following dates:

Wed 20 Feb – SWINDON, Wyvern Theatre
Thu 21 Feb – WESTON SUPER MARE, The Playhouse
Fri 22 Feb – WESTON SUPER MARE, The Playhouse
Mon 25 Feb – WELLINGBOROUGH, The Castle
Tue 26 Feb – MANSFIELD, Palace Theatre
Wed 27 Feb – IPSWICH, Regent Theatre
Thu 28 Feb – DORKING, Dorking Halls
Mon 4 Mar – ELLESMERE PORT, Civic Hall
Tue 5 Mar – ELLESMERE PORT, Civic Hall
Wed 6 Mar – ULVERSTON, Coronation Hall
Thu 7 Mar – CARLISLE, Sands Centre
Fri 8 Mar – BRADFORD, St George’s Hall
Mon 11 Mar – GRAVESEND, Woodville Halls
Tue 12 Mar – WORTHING, Pavilion Theatre
Wed 13 Mar – BARNSTAPLE, Queen’s Theatre
Thu 14 Mar – SALISBURY, City Hall
Mon 18 Mar – MIDDLESBROUGH, Middlesbrough Theatre
Tue 19 Mar – MIDDLESBROUGH, Middlesbrough Theatre
Wed 20 Mar – MIDDLESBROUGH, Middlesbrough Theatre
Thu 21 Mar – MIDDLESBROUGH, Middlesbrough Theatre

The show is produced by Julian Chenery and Carolyn Chenery for the Shakespeare 4 Kidz Theatre Company & S4K International Ltd in association with the Fairfield Halls, Croydon.

S4K’s The Tempest is a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Tempest written by Julian Chenery & Matt Gimblett, first performed in September 2004.

The forthcoming tour will be directed by Julian Chenery, musically directed by Mike Webborn and choreographed by Grace Harrington.

Casting will be announced in December.

 
Team S4K announce 2013 Tempest Tour
Saturday, 28 July 2012

"Team S4K" announced its UK and international tour of S4K's The Tempest on the day that the 2012 London Olympic Games opened with its spectacular Tempest-inspired "Isles of Wonder" Opening Ceremony.

tempest-image-small.jpgSIr Kenneth Branagh, (himself a late replacement for Mark Rylance) dressed as Isambard Kingdom Brunel, delivered Caliban's "This isle is full of noises" speech from The Tempest, and the the 27 ton giant bell at the Olympic Stadium which rang out to start the spectacle is inscribed Caliban's line "Be not afeard, the isle is full of noises".

This completely new production of the show will feature new set, costumes and specially-created video and film projections that will evoke the magic of Prospero's island - though at the time of writing there are no plans to incorporate the Olympic bell!

S4K’s The Tempest will rehearse and open in January at The Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon in South London. The Croydon shows are followed by visits to Tunbridge Wells, Crawley, Wakefield, Wolverhampton and Salford before a four-week February Middle East Tour, returning to the UK for further dates until 22 March. Full touring dates and performances will be announced during the summer, tickets will be on sale in theatre Box Office from September and full casting will be announced in October. The show is produced by Julian Chenery and Carolyn Chenery in association with S4K International and S4K Entertainment.

With the Olympic Games “Isles of Wonder” show spotlighting Shakespeare’s importance on the country’s culture, S4K is proud to continue playing its part in “bringing the world of Shakespeare to the Young People of the World”.

 
Kiss and tell - The inside story of what it’s like to play Juliet
Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Actress Olivia Chenery will have to die twice a day when she goes on tour as Juliet in the New Year.

s4k 7 400 romeo and juliet on the balcony 2012-67.jpgIt’s a tough call for a thoroughly modern 22 year old to convince an audience that she is a 13 year old so heartbroken that she kills herself for love.

But the role, in the Shakespeare 4 Kidz musical version of the play, has come with added rewards.

Livvy was called to auditions to put 20-plus potential Romeos through their paces. “It says quite clearly in the script that they kiss, so it was interesting to see which guys went for it. It was a very enjoyable day!”

She concedes that Juliet is a demanding part but points out how relevant it is to modern teenagers in love, especially those unlucky enough to have parents who simply don’t understand them.


“The love story which kids most relate to these days is probably the Twilight saga but we want to show them that young people have always had troubled love lives, most certainly always will have and that Shakespeare’s magical writing has influenced the generations of writers who came after him.”

Livvy is taking herself back to memories of her own first infatuation to help her bring the excitable love-struck Juliet to life.

“Everyone who’s been young and in love can identify with Juliet, who has to cope with the emotions of meeting, falling in love and marrying in just three days. I remember feeling a bit like that when I was young.

“The fact that S4K have set the story not in Renaissance Italy but in the rock and roll 1950s helps to make the story modern.”

Livvy is full of admiration for Juliet. “I absolutely respect her. She’s incredibly brave. She is willing to leave her family and stable life and run away with Romeo. She takes the potion not really knowing what it will do to her. The ending is so tragic that it always make me feel choked up.”

Reactions to the story can be very different in different countries, she says. “Audiences always relate to Mercutio because he wins them over with his comedy at the beginning. And when he dies there is always a stunned silence.

“But the best moment of my career was when we were on stage in Syria and the Lords Capulet and Montague shook hands to end the families’ long feud. It was breath-taking. There was a huge eruption of emotion from the audience because even though they might not have understood much of the text they understood that the enmity was ending and the families were reconciled through tragedy. I think that touched them more than the love story because their people have suffered dreadful conflict in their own country.”

Livvy comes to the role from playing fairy queen Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. She has also played Ophelia in the same company’s Hamlet.

Shakespeare 4 Kidz is in the blood. Her father Julian started the company 15 years ago, writes the scripts and songs (with collaborator Matt Gimblett), directs and produces the tours in the UK and overseas.

Her first appearance was as an eight year old fairy in the premiere of The Dream at The Barn Theatre near the family home in Oxted.

Inspired by the experience she later joined the National Youth Theatre and then trained at the London School of Musical Theatre.

Romeo and Juliet is a play of strong emotions and perennially powerful messages.
S4K’s production highlights the comedy but doesn’t shirk from underscoring the ever-topical themes of young love, gang violence and the breakdown of communications between generations.

How does Livvy hope the S4K production will leave its young audiences of mostly pre-teens feeling after the final curtain?

“I want them know how wonderful young love can be, but understand that it’s not good to let your emotions run away with you. Juliet is lucky in that she has a nurse to confide in when her parents don’t want to know…but of course very few kids today have anyone like that.”

S4K’s Romeo and Juliet starts its UK tour in Wakefield on January 17 and ends at Ellesmere Port on February 8 before going on tour to Bahrain, Qatar and Dubai.

 
S4K's Dream: Wall brings the house down
Thursday, 14 October 2010

Playing a Wall doesn’t sound the most exciting role for an actor…not much room for expression, one would have thought.

But it’s turned out to be quite the opposite for Stevie Smallwood. white (07).jpg

He’s currently touring the UK with Shakespeare 4 Kidz playing workman Snout the tinker in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As all fans of the show know, Snout has to dress up and look rather ridiculous as Wall in the play-within-a-play Pyramus and Thisbe, holding up his fingers to form the “chink” through which the lovers maintain their courtship.

Stevie, 35 and a regular with the company, has previously appeared in five of the six S4K titles: as Demetrius in The Dream, Horatio in Hamlet, Antonio in The Tempest, Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet and Malcolm in Macbeth.

Hardly surprisingly he’s having a ball playing Snout and loves it when the kids in the audience bellow “Bring on the Wall.”

“Snout is a great character to play, but also a challenge,” says Stevie.

“The Mechanicals have very physical comedy, which is more like the roles I played before I started working with S4K. The only difference with this is that there are six of us in our little group and so timing and co-ordination are even more important.

wonder wall.jpg“Snout only has a few lines and very little is written about him, so when I was creating the character the world was my oyster, which at times made it hard as there was almost too much choice.

“Although Snout doesn't have much to say, he definitely gets stuck in!  I've made Snout a very boisterous, bouncy character who gets excited about the littlest of things.

“In A Midsummer Night's Dream everyone changes in the woods and comes out a different person.  Snout comes out a little more grown up... he moves from acting like a bouncy six year old to being a mardy teenager. 

“I love it when Snout plays the Wall in the workmen's Pyramus and Thisbe.  He is a bit star-struck with the royals and can't stop staring at them which, of course, gets him into trouble and he can't quite understand why his chink-in-the-wall makes people angry.”

Stevie loves touring. Born and raised in Birmingham (he went to St James C of E and Light Hall, Solihull Sixth Form College and Birmingham School of Speech and Drama), he now lives in London’s Kentish Town but enjoys seeing the different parts of the country that S4K takes him to.

stevie smallwood as snout the tinker.jpg“Touring with S4K is like having a second family.  The producers (Julian and Carolyn Chenery) are very good at putting a company together that works like clockwork and gets on with each other.

“I've made so many good friends from the different companies in the five years I've been working for S4K.  Everyone mucks in and works hard to create top notch shows that all ages can enjoy.  Everyone has such pride in S4K. No-one else does what we do in the way that we do it.

“Audiences have been great on the tour so far.  Both schools and family audiences have come away buzzing from the show.  Obviously Puck and Bottom are favourites but it always makes me really happy when I hear things like "The Wall Rocks!" coming from the audience. I don't remember a year when we've had so many standing ovations. It makes us all very proud.”

See Wonder Wall Stevie on tour: check the list of venue dates on this site.

For more about Stevie visit his website www.steviesmallwood.moonfruit.com


 

 
S4K's Dream: Hilarious Helena
Friday, 24 September 2010

It’s Dream time for Clare again


Not many women want to be flung about in the woods and called names. But Clare Reilly just can’t get enough of it!

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 PHOTO BY ELYSE MARKS

The Croydon-educated actress is playing hapless Helena in Shakespeare 4 Kidz’ musical adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for the second time.

Poor Helena is unlucky in love in the Bard’s comedy. The boys – Demetrius and Lysander – have eyes only for sexy little Hermia while beanpole Helena is the butt of their jokes.

Things get even worse when Oberon’s sprite Puck gets involved and the insults really start to fly.

Claire went to Regina Ceoli Primary School in South Croydon, St Philomena's High for Girls in Carshalton, did an HND in Musical Theatre at the Charles Cryer Theatre in Carshalton, followed by the year-long course at the London School of Musical Theatre in 2004.  Now based in Wimbledon, she also has strong connections with the Mitre Players.

Since graduating in 2004 Clare has played all sorts of roles from Cinderella to Boogie Nights and will be appearing in panto this Christmas in Sheringham. She also kicks up her heels in fine style and performed a great Celtic dance in S4K’s last tour of Macbeth.

What is it about Helena which just keeps Clare coming back for more?

"Helena is the most fun character and the most different character I have played since I left college," she says. "Even though she cries and wails a lot, there is so much comedy in her. I have fun every single day!"

"One of my favourite moments is when she is "enchanted" by Puck in the woods. It involves a squeaky, rubber bone and a spaniel impression!"

“She’s a hopeless romantic, ditzy but not dumb, utterly faithful, utterly loving and utterly desperate!” says Clare.

 
S4K's Dream: A Question of Quince
Saturday, 18 September 2010

Versatility is the name of the game for Antony Stuart-Hicks – known to his friends as Ash.

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 Leanne Jones and Antony Stuart-Hicks as Tracy and Edna Turnblad in Hairspray in Dubai


He’s recently returned from flouncing about in a frock playing Edna Turnblad in a hit production of the musical Hairspray in Dubai. Now Ash is aging-up to play quintessential Athenian workman Quince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream for Shakespeare 4 Kidz.

Ash, just turned 26, specialises in character roles and loves playing dame in panto. As the youngest professional pantomime dame in the UK, his Christmastime credits include Widow Twankey in Aladdin, Sarah the Cook in Dick Whittingon, Dame Dolly Mixture in Snow White and Lily O’Grady in Cinderella.

His versatility has also extended to playing Colonel Mustard in Cluedo, Cardinal Richelieu in The Three Musketeers and Kaa the snake in Jungle Book.

tempest-photo-07.jpgAsh started young in showbiz, becoming a pro at just 11 and has spent the last 15 years as an actor/producer working alongside such eminent professionals as Dame Maggie Smith, Ken Dodd and Susan Penhaligon. He was born in Liverpool, brought up in Crosby and attended Chesterfield High School but now lives in Streatham Hill.

Ash’s previous roles for S4K have largely involved pencilling on the stage-wrinkles to play such parts as Ophelia’s father Polonius in Hamlet and Gonzalo in The Tempest.

This is a return to the part of Quince for S4K. Peter Quince is the workman who has the brainwave of organising his motley bunch of friends into putting on a play to entertain Duke Theseus and his new wife Hippolyta during their wedding celebrations.

elysemarks - mnd (06).jpgHe describes Quince as: “Fastidious, acutely organised and a worrier who has an aspiration to be a great director.”

But as anyone familiar with the play will know, the Tragedy of Pyramus and Thisbe – as enacted by Athenian workmen Bottom and friends -  turns into an hilarious fun-fest.

Ash will also be doubling as another oldie, Hermia’s grumpy dad Egeus.

S4K’s musical adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream tours the UK from September 14

 
S4K's Dream: Being Bottom
Thursday, 16 September 2010

Of all the comedy characters ever written, Bottom is surely one of the funniest. The wacky weaver from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream has been played by many of the greats of the theatre, all anxious to make an ass of themselves for the sake of raising a laugh.

elysemarks---mnd-(66)-150.gifOne of the play’s Mechanicals, Bottom is enchanted by the naughty sprite Puck, who places a donkey’s head on him so that when fairy queen Titania wakes up she instantly falls in love with the hairy apparition.

Sean Luckham is playing Bottom for the second time for Shakespeare 4 Kidz.

He was born in Portsmouth and got his first taste of the magic of theatre as a 14 year old. After lessons at the Priory School he headed for the Kings Theatre in Southsea where he learnt how to be the follow-spot operator.

There he enjoyed performances by many great stars and still swoons over his memories of Judi Dench and Kate O’Mara.

These actors inspired him to join the Hampshire Specialist Drama Course then go on to tour in many shows before producing and performing in lots of productions as a Redcoat for Butlins in Bognor Regis.

Sean still lives in Bognor with his wife and three children.elysemarks---mnd-(52)-150.gif What do Sean’s kidz think of their dad playing Bottom?

“They love it. They think it is the norm for daddy to dress up in silly wigs and costumes, and frocks at Christmas time to play Dame in panto. They think all daddies do that!”

And why does he love playing Bottom?: “Bottom is fantastic and goes on a fabulous journey. He thinks he is everything but really he is nothing. Then he goes off into this dreamlike state and has a relationship – albeit brief! – with the most beautiful creature. Bottom certainly is changed during the play in more ways than one.”

Sean is one of S4K’s popular regular actors. He was a huge success playing Peter the servant in Romeo and Juliet – another role which featured a silly wig and Sean riding on and off stage on his scooter.

He’s usually cast as one of the funny characters, including one of the gravediggers in Hamlet and Stephano the drunken butler in The Tempest.

“My niece Sophie came to see that show with her school. She told all her classmates that I was her uncle but they wouldn’t believe her,” he laughs.

The King’s Theatre in Southsea is one of the ports of call on the spring leg of this S4K tour of The Dream and Sean is looking forward to showing his Bottom off to local audiences, friends and family on Wednesday March 11 at 10.30 and 1.20.

 
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S4K ROMEO: "I just wanted to say a huge thank you for a fantastic workshop and a superb performance of "Romeo and Juliet" at the Ashcroft Theatre (16th November). The children thoroughly enjoyed both experiences and are now quoting Shakespeare and singing your songs around the school!"