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Focus on: Licketyspit

Theatre for children comes alive
Licketyspit's philosophy
Currently touring - Green Whale
History of Licketyspit

Theatre for children comes alive

Licketyspit performing Green Whale, 2006; Photo: Patrick Redmond 

Licketyspit is a children's theatre company directed by Virginia Radcliffe.  The company's work focuses on engaging and interactive theatre with music for ages three to twelve.


Licketyspit’s work has shown to have an unusually long-term impact on its audiences. This is due to the nature of the performances and the content of the work and to the company’s approach to its audiences.

The company works with highly skilled and experienced actors and freelance theatre practioners who have a real interest in the audience. The shows are tested in development through drama workshops with children in schools/nurseries and special schools. The company seeks to ensure its work will appeal to its youngest, most vulnerable audience members. In reality Licketyspit has kept much of it’s early audiences and plays regularly to 3-12 year olds and families.

'It was so alive! That’s really what I want to say, so alive!', comment from a parent attending Molly Whuppie.

The shows are full of spirit, energy and invention. They have in common: a strong story, interesting characters, no one section of a play is too long, exciting visuals, music, catchy songs, opportunities for interaction and humour.

Licketyspit in Magic Spaghetti 2005

They have substance and explore ideas that are relevant to children – fear, power, adventure, relationships. They give children something to get their teeth into and think about. They are full of memorable moments, rhymes, songs, games that children can and do recreate for themselves following the performances.

Licketyspit's philosophy

Licketyspit says it wants its audiences to feel a sense of ownership about its work. To feel that a given performance might be different if they weren’t there. The company is particularly successful in supporting the long-term impact of its productions - all Licketyspit shows are accompanied by extensive Teacher’s Resource packs.  

Drawing by Green Whale audience member; Courtesy: Licketyspit

The company gives every child an A3 interactive programme, containing song lyrics, rhymes, recipes and puppets, which can be cut out and used to retell the story or make up other stories.

Feedback forms and posters are also distributed by the company after every show and audiences are encouraged to send pictures and stories to the Licketyspit website.

Currently touring - Green Whale

Virginia Radcliffe, artistic director of Licketyspit, describes Green Whale, touring to venues across Scotland until 17 March:

Licketyspit performing Green Whale 2006; Photo: Patrick Redmond 

'Three Scottish children set out in search of the mythical Green Whale and have the adventure of their lives!  The audience joins the crew of the Big Betty where the charismatic Captain Crill is a former pirate, Isabella the cook is a Spanish Queen who makes everyone eat oranges and Nin the Boatswain wants that whale and he wants it now! And then there’s the girl they find in the sea…'

'Green Whale is a story of the sea. Of pirates and romance. Of deep-sea adventure.  Of storms and sails and of ropes. A story to span the oceans... An engaging, compelling and magical adventure with music, to fire the imagination and make us laugh!'

Green Whale is written and directed by Virginia Radcliffe, designed by Georgia McGuinness, with music by Tim Brinkhurst and lighting by Ace McCarron.  It is performed by actors Johnny Austin, Sarah Hawarth, Sean Hay, Itxaso Moreno.

Licketyspit performing Green Whale 2006; Photo: Patrick Redmond

'The four-strong cast is a dream team of warm and engaging actors, but when the whale eventually shows up, eyes pop and jaws hit the floor throughout the audience.' - Metro magazine

History of Licketyspit

Licketyspit was launched in Spring 2004 with the production of Wee Witches. This toured to major venues, schools and community venues across Scotland to an audience of 7000. In December 2004, Quangle Wangle was developed into The Christmas Quangle Wangle for a three week run at The Traverse.

In spring 2005 the company produced its first totally new show, Magic Spaghetti – an interactive promenade show with four actors which toured with three interactive ‘market carts’ about food. Magic Spaghetti was a sellout over eight and a half weeks.

In 2006 Licketyspit re-mounted Molly Whuppie with live harp and fiddle for an eight-week tour of Scotland and a week at Manchester Royal Exchange.  Audiences hit 10,000. ‘Come & Try’ Fiddle workshops for children were offered along with the show.  Molly Whuppie was re-mounted for a three week Highland and North Ayrshire autumn tour, then showed at The Byre Theatre, St Andrews for a four week Christmas run with a huge and spectacular new set designed by Ali Maclaurin.  Christmas 2006 saw the launch of the company’s latest production, Green Whale, at The Traverse in Edinburgh.

Green Whale was so successful it is currently on tour again across Scotland. 

All images courtesty Licketyspit.

Funded by the National Lottery through the Scottish Arts Council.

Related links
* Profile on Virginia Radcliffe
* Licketyspit
 
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