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Louise Callow on Scamp Theatre

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When was Scamp Theatre founded?
Scamp Theatre was founded in March 2003 by Louise Callow and Jennifer Sutherland in Bedfordshire.

What is the philosophy behind it?
We aim to create theatre for children, young people and their families that is imaginative, entertaining and never patronising. We would like to have some small part in engaging the next generation of theatre goers by capturing their imagination at the age of three or four.

Do you think that theatre for children and young people is adequately represented in mainstream programming? Why is this?
We are in the lucky position of touring our work extensively across the UK and internationally. There is a lot of work out there, but there are many challenges faced by us and others like us. We sometimes struggle with adequate get-in time and have to make compromises if we are playing on top of another (evening) show. Making the work feasible financially can also be challenging, due to the expectation that ticket prices will be lower for children’s theatre.

Many of your shows are adaptations of books. Is there a particular reason for this?
We have adapted four of Michael Morpurgo's books as well as five titles by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. The quality of all of these books has been incredible, and they have had a wide readership who are really keen to see them brought to the stage. We were truly delighted when Donaldson saw two of our productions, approached us and asked us if we would adapt some of her books.

Illustration on the page and presentation on stage are very different things. How do you manage the transition?
We have worked with some super talented directors and creative teams. With Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales we are delighted to be working with Sally Cookson (director), Katie Sykes (designer) and Benji Bower (composer) again. They all worked on Stick Man and Aesop's Fables with us.

How do children react to seeing books brought to life?
They are usually completely engrossed and thrilled. Hopefully the stage adaptations give them another dimension of the story to enjoy.

What are your future plans?
We have a number of new projects on the go at the moment. We hope to revive Friend or Foe by Michael Morpurgo (adapted and directed by Daniel Buckroyd) which was a huge success when it toured last year. We are also excited about bringing Pirate Gran to the stage. It will be adapted from the book written by Geraldine Durrant and illustrated by Rose Forshall.

Scamp Theatre's new production of Swamp Juice in association with Jeff Achtem's Bunk Puppets embarks on a national tour after a short season at the Soho Theatre, London. Among other dates in the South-East of England and East Anglia, it plays at the Latitude Festival on 14 and 15 July.

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