LAStheatre and Can’t Sit Still will create new pieces of family theatre to be performed to audiences at both the Albany and ARC Stockton in December 2023 and 2024.

The commission involves a grant of £44,000 for each company to develop their show, as well as up to four weeks R&D and rehearsal space, and production, technical and marketing support.

19 companies applied for the commission. This year’s commissioning process follows six years of successful commissions from theatre companies such as Kitchen Zoo (The Tin Foil Astronaut), Wrongsemble (The Snow Queen) and tutti frutti (The Ugly Duckling).

LAStheatre creates layered, urgent, heart-driven stories that engage people of all ages. These tales tackle important and complex ideas in surprising, joyous and participatory ways. Their commissioned show, The Light Princess, will reimagine the classic fairytale as a joyful family show, gently exploring individuality, friendship, creativity and the social model of disability. The show will be performed at the Albany from 2-24 December 2023 and tickets are on sale now. It will then travel to ARC in December 2024.

Can’t Sit Still create new, devised performances and projects spanning theatre, circus, and live music. They have previously adapted author and illustrator Chris Haughton’s Oh No, George! for the stage, and are now bringing his latest picture book, Well Done, Mummy Penguin, to life. Well Done, Mummy Penguin will be performed at ARC Stockton from 5-23 December 2023, and tickets are on sale now. It will then come to the Albany in December 2024 (tickets will be on sale early 2024).

A photo from Can't Sit Still's production of Oh No, George! An actor dressed in blue holds the tail of another actor dressed as an orange dog.

Can’t Sit Still’s production of Oh No, George! Credit Paul Blakemore.

Vicki Amedume, Creative Director of the Albany, said: “We are delighted to be working with ARC once again to commission two exciting new shows. We have already welcomed LAStheatre into our building for a week of R&D working with local children from Tidemill Academy, and we can’t wait to see how their ideas come to life on stage this Christmas.”

Annabel Turpin, Artistic Director at ARC, said: “We are really excited to have the chance to work with these companies as they create new shows, and to share them with our audiences. It’s fantastic to be working with Can’t Sit Still again, as our audiences loved their previous production, Oh No, George!, and to be welcoming LAStheatre to ARC, a company we have long admired.”

Can’t Sit Still said: “We are over the moon to be awarded this commission by two such brilliant venues. We’re particularly excited to return to Stockton, where we first began adapting Chris Haughton’s brilliant books for the stage, and to co-create this show with local children there. We can’t wait to dive into the icy Antarctic waters to see what bonkers and brilliant ways we can come up with to bring Chris’ beautiful illustrations to life.”

LAStheatre said: “We feel so privileged to have received this commission from the Albany and ARC to create a winter show for (and with) their communities in Lewisham and Stockton. We have long admired these cultural powerhouses and we are excited to be joining forces! In this re-telling of the classic tale, yes, the Light Princess floats but it’s the world that needs to change. A kiss from a prince is not going to cut it this time.”

Book tickets for The Light Princess at the Albany in December 2023.

Book tickets for Well Done, Mummy Penguin at ARC Stockton in December 2023.

Cover illustration for The Light Princess.