Allowing children to discover theatre can inspire them long after the curtain has come down
This week’s Fantastic for Families outing was to the Half Moon theatre in London’s East End.
We’d heard a lot about this iconic children’s theatre venue, inspiring old and young alike since it opened its doors in 1972, so it was high time we paid the folks at Half Moon a visit.
The venue’s founders wanted to create a space in which theatre and live performance could thrive, and that’s certainly what we found. We were here to see ‘Young Herbert’s Horrors’, written and played by the fantastic poet and performer Justin Coe.
Young Herbert is a little horror. This story follows his journey to becoming a better person. Still Herbert, minus the rebellious streak!
Living on a boat should be the ideal life for a wannabe pirate, but the boat’s grounded until Herbert can learn to tidy his cabin, eat his greens and be more polite. A big storm brews when he is sent home from school and Mum calls on Great Uncle Albatross – navy captain and scourge of all pirates – to warn him of the dangers of rebellion.
The actor Justin Coe kept all members of the family entertained throughout this turbulent nautical adventure. The little ones were especially captivated by Justin’s multiple roles and there were many laugh out loud moments.
We spoke to Justin about why he produces theatre for families. His passion for performance started at an early age, performing for the first time in front of his family at Christmas.
Writing for families, he says, is all about focusing on the ordinary - the everyday things that happen to us all. Capturing those relatable moments, thoughts and feelings and incorporating them into a fictional and inspirational world.
Overall, this show reminded us of the powerful impact theatre can have on the young. It can open you up to stories, possibilities, all types of people and places, build empathy, understand inclusivity – and of course, have fun.
Have you seen the Young Herbert’s horror play? Tag us on Twitter or Facebook to let us know what you thought!