Meet the cast and development team
Finegan has had 82 commissioned plays performed on five continents and translated into six languages. His work has enjoyed seasons in: over 100 international festivals and at the Sydney Opera House (six works), DC's Kennedy Center (three works), NY's Lincoln Center, Dublin's Abbey Theatre and Shanghai's Malan Flower Theatre.
He and his work have received 36 national and international awards over the past 13 years, including the inaugural Sidney Myer Fellowship, 2017 Mickey Miner Award for Lifetime Achievement in international Theatre for Young Audiences, 2015 David Williamson Prize for Excellence in Australian Playwrighting, and five Australian Writers Guild Awards.
He has spoken at conferences in nine countries, with papers published and works studied at several international universities.
He lives in Tasmania with his wife Essie and son Moe.
Examples of his work can be seen at www.finegankruckemeyer.com
Finegan loves words, and plays, and wordplay. He writes on an island, beneath a fig tree, in a home that holds two other humans, five chickens and a cat called Catty.
Lily Donovan playing Sylvia South:
Lily Donovan recently graduated from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School where she won the Peter O'Toole award. Credits include: Tilly in The Bear (MAC Birmingham and UK Tour - Bristol Old Vic, Warwick Arts Centre, Rose Theatre Kingston, Ipswich New Wolsey) Lucy in The Rivals (Bristol Old Vic, Liverpool Playhouse and Glasgow Citizen), Doll in Playhouse Creatures (Tobacco Factory), Fanny in The Ugly One (Directors' Cuts, Alma Tavern Theatre), Miranda in The Tempest (Redgrave Theatre), Rabbit Rose/ Fox/ Washerwoman in The Wind in the Willows (Redgrave Theatre), Rosalind in As You Like It, Lucy/ Old Lady Squeamish in The Country Wife, Anne Shankland in Separate Tables: Table By The Window, Lera in Ladybird, Dabby Bryant in Our Country's Good. Pre BOVTS: W in Lungs, Rebecca in The Country, Dora in Our Class, Vi in The Memory of Water, Norma in Be My Baby, Amelia in The House of Bernarda Alba, Sharon in Ballymun.
Lily used to dress up when she was younger and never got out of the habit. The only thing she might love more than acting is chocolate. Any sort. Donations welcome...
Richard Fletcher playing everyone else:
When Richard was three years old his dad sent him to ballet lessons to "improve" his balance so he could become a professional football player! He fell in love with performing and has been clowning around ever since! He loves Roald Dahl and anything that makes him laugh!
The Creative Team
The Designer: Rachana Jadhav
Rachana is an award winning theatre designer, illustrator, creative producer and co-artistic Director of Brolly Productions. She trained as an architect and production design works include National Theatre of Scotland, National Theatre, Rasa Productions, Southbank, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Polka Theatre. Her illustration works include 'Interactions' an anthology of short stories and poems with stroke survivors.
Rachana loves to draw. She used to be shy about showing anyone her drawings but now she knows they make people smile she doesn't mind anymore. Her favourite book is Harold and his Purple Crayon.
The Composer: Tayo Akindode
Tayo was born in London to Nigerian parents and discovered the theatre at the Royal Court's Activists Youth Theatre. At 18 he went to Manchester to work on the stage crew at the Royal Exchange Theatre for 3 months but didn't return home. Three years later, Manchester Youth Theatre asked him to write some music for their production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
Tayo has subsequently been a composer and MD for numerous companies on shows such as: Much Ado About Nothing, The Bacchae, Antony and Cleopatra at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester; Aqua for The Generating Co./OCT East, Shenzen; Ruined for The Almeida Theatre; Blackburn for Littlebigman Films; Mother Courage for Nottingham Playhouse/Eclipse; Listen To Your Parents, Opera Do Malandro for the BBC Radio; Spirit of the Union UAE 40th Birthday celebrations in Abu Dhabi.
Recent work includes: Junkyard for Headlong Theatre Company, Aladdin for Theatr Clwyd, Omeros, Twelfth Night for Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, The Listening Project theme for BBC radio 4, Mavis Sparkle for M6 Theatre Company, King Lear for Royal Exchange/Talawa, Othello for the Royal Shakespeare Company, The Tempest for Singapore Repetory Theatre, 2 Gentlemen of Verona, Julius Caesar and Stig of the Dump for Storyhouse Chester, Sponge for Turned on it's head.
Tayo loves making music and really enjoyed making the music for this show. He enjoys reading books and sometimes even reads books in Russian. If he was stuck in a book he would like it to be Esquivel!: Space-age Sound Artist
Object Director: Sue Pyecroft
Sue has been a theatre designer/practitioner for over 30 years and has worked with a wide variety of arts organisations and theatre companies in that time. Sue specialises in children's theatre and puppetry (both designing and directing).
She has worked with theatre companies and theatres around Britain including The National Theatre, Curve, The Royal and Derngate, Nuffield Theatre- Southampton, New Perspectives, Nottingham Playhouse, Mashi Theatre, WriggleDance, Turned on its Head, and Spark Arts for Children.
Sue co founded Bamboozle Theatre Company over 20 years ago and has been the lead designer and puppetry director for Bamboozle's touring shows. Recently her work has toured to Beijing, Shanghai and Melbourne, Australia.
She is currently devising a family interactive puppetry show called Maria's Marvellous Menagerie for The Big Malarkey in Hull. www.suepyecroftdarkhorsepuppetry.co.uk
Sue is a maker and mover of things. She likes dancing in summer rain and making things to hang in trees. Sue's favourite book would be ' How to Construct Cakes and Eat Them'
The Movement Specialist: Peter Shenton
Pete is a movement director and choreographer. He makes dances for a living. He is quite tall and gangly. His favourite book in the library is Giraffe's Can't Dance.
The Production Team
The Director: Adel Al-Salloum
Adel's experience is in creating theatre for children and young people and finding ways in which people of all ages and abilities can access great art. The work has ranged from creating multi sensory installations for children under 5, to large scale community productions involving 100 members of the community, to commissioning playwrights to create new material for children and young people
Prior to joining The Spark Adel worked as an Associate Director for both Northern Stage Ensemble and Curve Leicester.
Adel loves finding ways to make stories come alive, working with words to make magic and theatre happen. A favourite book to read aloud is Spike Milligans Silly Verses for Kids On The Nig Nag Nong makes me laugh from the bottom of my belly.
The Stage Manager: Oran O'Neill
Oran is a Stage Manager based in Glasgow. Having trained at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Oran has been involved with the production departments of many companies across a wide range of performing arts disciplines.
Selected credits include: Deputy Stage Manager - The Addams Family (RCS, Edinburgh Fringe, 2014), Stage Manager - Scottish Ballet Up Close (Scottish Ballet, Scotland Tour, 2014), Deputy Stage Manager - Le Nozze di Figaro (RCS, 2015), Stage Manager - Burnistoun: Live and For Real (The Comedy Unit, Glasgow International Comedy Festival, 2015), Stage Manager - Cosi fan tutte (RCS, 2016), Production Staff (Princess Cruises - inaugural production staff on Stephen Schwartz's "Born To Dance", 2016), Touring Stage Manager - As The Crow Flies (Pentabus Theatre Company, UK Tour, 2017).
Oran is thrilled to be returning to Leicester to work with The Spark Arts for Children.
Oran has always liked singing and dancing, but he found out he liked building things and finding things even more. He loved the The Cat In The Hat by Dr. Seuss growing up (and he still does).
The Producers – The Spark Arts for Children
The Spark Arts For Children is a registered charity which offers children the opportunity to discover and enjoy the arts as audiences, as learners and as creators of their own art.
Special thanks to our very own librarians, book keepers and real life word catchers, plus … Costume Maker Linda Burton…. You are all superheros.