Peter is a boy. And boys like blue and football and fights. Jane is a girl. And girls
like pink and dollies and princesses.
Princess Charming is a new interactive cabaret show which addresses sexist and gender based bullying through song, dance and acrobatics – and it’s for the whole family.
Producer Jessica Cheetham answered a few of Theatre Box’s questions ahead of their tour through the UK over September and November.
What are your aims with staging this production?
Spun Glass Theatre wants to explore how gender stereotypes affect behaviour. If a boy is naturally more sensitive or a girl naturally more assertive, a continual admonishment from adults can chip away at their confidence. The performers present lots of different ideas about how stereotypes put pressure on girls and boys to act a certain way and how that might make us feel.
We also wanted to create a production that families will really enjoy while creating chances for them to chat about what it means to them to be a boy or be a girl.
Spun Glass Theatre has been interested in gender issues and women’s’ stories since we began in 2010. Princess Charming was born from a desire to talk about the ideas we layer onto children very early in life and the impact that has as they grow up and become adults.
Why have you chosen to appeal to this particular age bracket?
We have chosen this age bracket because they are starting to become aware of how what they like and dislike starts to create an identity that might be different from those around them. Children are around 7 to 11 years old when they start to really realise that they might be different from the majority of the children around them and this can have an impact on their confidence.
We created Princess Charming by visiting schools and performing sections of the play to children there. They were very honest in their feedback and helped us to shape a performance that was really meaningful to them. The show is fast-paced with about 20 different cabaret skits so it’s really engaging to watch. A cabaret style atmosphere is created with children and adults encouraged to heckle and take part so it’s really engaging.
Are there any big differences working with young audiences that you enjoy, or even dread?
The energy in the theatre feels much more positive which we really enjoy. We encourage the children to interact with the performers during the show and what they say is really funny and just adds to the performance, unlike some adults who heckle to distract from the show – so that’s been really fun.
Princess Charming runs from September 19th to November 4th at various theatres around the UK.