Miranda Thain on Beneath the Banyan Tree & Theatre HullabalooDate: 1 October 2009
Miranda Thain is the 30 year old Creative Producer and Chief Executive of Theatre Hullabaloo. Based at Darlington Arts Centre and formerly known as CTC Theatre until earlier this year, Theatre Hullabaloo is the North East's only specialist producer of theatre for young audiences. The company make theatre that encourages young people to investigate the wider world of feelings and ideas.
To coincide with their 30th anniversary, Theatre Hullabaloo are set to tour the UK with the stage premiere of Emil Sher’s much loved story Beneath the Banyan Tree from 9 October to 20 November, starting the tour at the Darlington Arts Centre.
Beneath the Banyan Tree is the story of Anjali, a young girl who has moved to the UK from India. An aspiring dancer, Anjali travels between two worlds: the cold reality of trying to adjust to life in the UK and the challenge of making friends at school, with her imaginary world in which the colourful animal characters from the Indian fables of the Panchatantra come to life.
When I spoke to Miranda she’d just witnessed the first full rehearsal of the production. With one week to go, she told me it was now taking shape nicely and it had been an emotional and exciting sight seeing the story come to fruition.
Having worked with Theatre Direct before, this time the Canadian company are helping stage a production in the UK. Miranda clearly enjoys working with the transatlantic team who bring a new type of “sophistication” to the work. With their issue-based shows, they have enabled Miranda to lead Theatre Hullabaloo in a new direction of educational productions for children, learning their skills of creating subtle work whilst retaining the underlying messages.
Formerly known as CTC Theatre, I couldn’t help but ask Miranda where the name Theatre Hullabaloo came from. She explained that CTC (Cleveland Theatre Company) didn’t have a great deal of meaning to it, with Cleveland very rarely being used to describe the region these days. The aim of the organisation is to encourage young audiences to theatre and “Hullabaloo” is such a great child-friendly, tongue-twisting word that gives audiences a flavour of what they are all about without knowing more then the company’s name.
It was important to Miranda for the anniversary tour to start in Darlington, the home of Theatre Hullabaloo. With a vision that the Darlington Arts Centre should be a centre of excellence for theatre, Theatre Hullabaloo always give Darlington the opportunity to stage the opening of new shows before anyone else. With 800 local children descending on the Darlington Arts Centre next week to see Beneath The Banyan Tree, I’m sure they’ll not be disappointed.
So what’s next for Theatre Hullabaloo? Miranda tells me Spring 2010 brings an operatic bounce in their step with a new production called My Mother Told Me Not To Share. In conjunction with Action Transport Theatre, this opera, written especially for 8-year-olds by a Tasmania playwright, explores what happens when you do things your Mum told you not to do, like eating the pips from an apple- will an apple tree grow inside you? With the ambition of a regional, national and international tour on the horizon, Miranda is excited where ‘Hullabaloo is heading.
Miranda is proud to be the youngest chief executive of a theatre company in the UK and described Hullabaloo as her “baby”. Seeing her job as more of a vocation, she is proud to be at the helm of a great team who are creating, and I think will continue to create for a long time to come, all kinds of hullabaloo.
Beneath The Banyan Tree is touring the UK from 9 October to 20 November 2009. Visit their website for more details at Theatre Hullabaloo
Back to Northeast Homepage