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For many young people, their first ever experience of live theatre is a Christmas show or pantomime and it’s a responsibility that every performer feels – get it right and you can help create a theatre goer for life. 

But this year that responsibility is even greater according to Patrick Lynch, Artistic Director of Lyngo Theatre whose production of Little Red Riding Hood has been packing them in at Lighthouse, Poole’s centre for the arts.  

“Our productions are for children and adults but typically they’re aimed at three to eight-year-olds, so we’re used to a sizeable section of our audiences experiencing live theatre for the first time,” explains Patrick. 

“Because of the pandemic, that first time experience almost skipped a generation and this year we are seeing even more first timers and children who have seen hardly any live theatre, so there is a responsibility to get it right. If they come along and enjoy it, they will come back, but if they never get here at all then the audiences will fall away.” 

Luckily, audience numbers have been good and, judging by the reaction to the performances, Little Red Riding Hood is hitting the spot with Patrick performing alongside Francesca Anderson. Marcello Chiarenza is the director/designer and the music is composed by Cialdo Capelli. 

“It’s a great story – that's the reason it has lasted for hundreds of years – so there’s no need to twist it,” says Patrick. “The audiences get to shout ‘Behind you’ and ‘Oh no it isn’t’ and the children get involved straight away. 

“Also, as performers, more than ever it demonstrates to us what a joy and a privilege it is to do the work we do – last year we did an online show and a smaller live show, but this year we have four shows running at the same time in different venues and it is wonderful.” 

Little Red Riding Hood returns for a second run from 18 December until Christmas Eve. 

Photo by Joan Porcel

(NC)

Published 7 December 2021