We chatted to the actress and director about Spectacular! playing as part of the Iris Theatre’s 2021 Seed Commissions series.

Hi Jemma – could you tell me what Spectacular! is about? Spectacular is such a sweet story. It’s all about a family needing to move house, and their neighbour the Bee-Keeper, Mrs Marigold gives them her Art Shop to spruce up so that it doesn’t get demolished. I won’t give too much away, but let’s just say… with the help of some magical spectacles all ends well with the family working as a team and doing what they love! It’s a really powerful message for young audiences, about believing in yourself and never giving up. Something that little people will be able to take away, but also their grown ups too I think.

How does it feel to be making live theatre for young audiences again?It’s amazing to be back doing live theatre, especially after the year we’ve all had and children’s theatre is so special. This show in particular really helps fire their creativity and imagination.

What would you love for audiences to take away from the show? The songs in the show incorporate lots of the poems/quotes from the book, that inspire people to dream big, use their imagination, believe in themselves and to be brave in being uniquely themselves. The songs are so catchy that if the young audiences could take any of those messages home from singing along to the songs, that would be the most wonderful thing!

How have you found the process of putting Spectacular! together? It’s been so motivating and fun working with three creative, talented women. Spectacular has been such a collaborative piece which is always rewarding and gets those creative juices flowing! As a fan of the book, it’s been a joy seeing the characters come to life!

What did you love about the story when you read it? I just love that even as an adult, the story inspires you to create your own destiny and reminds you that when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. It’s such a colourful book full of lovely, important messages for children (and adults) told in a magical way through poetry and beautiful illustrations. Some of the pages make great prints for the house too!

Why should people come and watch the show? It would be great to see people there to support the beauty that is live theatre, especially in such a stunning setting. It’s a colourful, high energy show full of life sized puppets, catchy songs and magic! The audience participate in creating art to decorate the stage too!

By Emma Clarendon

Spectacular! will play as part of the Iris Theatre’s 2021 Seed Commissions series from the 24th to the 28th July. For more information and to book tickets visit: https://iristheatre.com/event/spectacular/