8 days and counting…#BIGIMAGINATIONSFEST

Eight days until… #BigImaginationsFest

So here we are, eight days and counting!

Big Imaginations Festival is back for 2017 and will be showcasing the best in children and family theatre from the 19 October – 5 November at 26 venues across the North West.

For the next eight days plus our launch day on 19 October we’ll be doing an exclusive feature on each of our nine shows starting with Child of the Divide which makes its North West premiere at Big Imaginations Festival on 20 October. We’ll be speaking with our Festival Patron Anita Rani at the Child of the Divide relaunch party at Polka Theatre, London and asked her about her thoughts on the show, her favourite children’s show ever, and her top picks for the festival! We also caught up with Producer Dan Coleman on being a producer, magic powers and the importance of Child of the Divide.

First we caught up with Anita Rani at Polka Theatre…

Anita Rani with Big Imaginations Marketing and Audience Development Manager Laura Stevens at the Child of the Divide relaunch at Polka Theatre, London

Hi Anita! We’re really excited to have you as Big Imaginations Festival patron! In your opinion, why is it important for the North West to have a dedicated children and family theatre festival?

For me to be able to communicate stories to children from a young age of 2- 3 years old is important because it sparks up their imagination, and inspires children in a creative way. It is vital that festivals like Big Imaginations exist because if you can catch children at an age where you can inspire them it could change the course of their life forever!

Child of the Divide marks the 70th anniversary of the Indian partition, why is it important to share these stories for younger audiences?

It is important to share these stories to younger audiences because it’s shocking how few people know of this huge event that took place and is a major part of South Asian and British history. It’s imperative that children are taught the story of Empire in a more three-dimensional way. If you are of South Asian descent then it’s an important part of the history that your parents and grandparents have gone through.

Why is it particularly important for children’s theatre to reflect the communities which it serves?

It’s important for children’s theatre to reflect the communities which it serves, because people need to know their own stories as well as everyone’s stories. If you are not seeing yourself and your stories reflected in the mass media and wider dialogue than you’ve got to start in the local spaces.

What is your favourite piece of family theatre?

My favourite piece of family theatre is Slava’s Snow show.  It’s magical and beautiful for a child but heartbreaking as an adult. It has universal appeal.

The Big Imaginations Festival will see 9 theatre performances tour across 26 venues in the North West. If you are able to choose 3 top picks from the brochure (attached) what would they be and why?

It’s very hard to select three but here you go:

  • Handa’s Surprise – story of a beautiful friendship with a girl in the lead!
  • Poet Joseph Coelho – Fairytales Gone Bad (in both categories Age 3+ & Age 6+) listening to ghoulish fairy tales in a poetic form sounds scary…!
  • Catapluf’s Musical Journey – creating music by banging on pots and pans to make noise sounds like fun to me.

Next, we checked in with Dan Coleman, producer of Child of the Divide to ask what a producer does and what to expect from this fantastic show!

How did you decide you wanted to be a theatre producer?

I’m a theatre-maker myself and I learnt to produce out of necessity really; it was just part and parcel of getting my own work off the ground. Producing for other people grew out of that, and now I’m in a lovely position where the experience I get from supporting the work of companies like Bhuchar Boulevard can then be fed back into my own work; and vice-versa.

As a producer what does your job involve?

The producer is in charge of the business side of putting on a show, so that includes planning the production; arranging deals with the venues we’re performing at; contracting the team; managing the different departments – all the non-fun stuff basically. My job is about making sure everyone else has what they need to make the best show possible.

We’re really excited about Child of the Divide! What should audiences expect from the show?

Child of the Divide is about a young boy who becomes separated from his family amid chaos that followed the partition of India in 1947. It’s a really remarkable play about family, identity and belonging that uses the story of one child to explore the fate of thousands. It also opens a window onto one the most important and least explored events in the shared history of Britain and India.

Could you describe Child of the Divide in 3 words?

Heartfelt, joyous and touching.

Finally, if you could have a magic power, what would you have and why?

The power to magically make people response to emails immediately would be really useful, but flying would be more fun.

Child of the Divide will be performing on five dates across the region. Click the links below for more information and to book tickets;








October 11th, 2017

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