We’re pleased to announce two new Christmas co-commissions from Wrongsemble and Kitchen Zoo, who will be creating new pieces of family theatre specifically for audiences in Deptford and ARC in Stockton on Tees for 2021 and 2022.

Wrongsemble, based in West-Yorkshire, will be bringing to life a new version of The Snow Queen. Updated for modern families and celebrating the sense of kindness and community the festive period represents, it is underpinned by a fundamental message of sustainability, where the smallest of actions make a big difference, and the youngest voice speaks the loudest of truths.

North East-based Kitchen Zoo, will be reinventing their show The Tin Foil Astronaut. Devised and written by Kitchen Zoo, Bob Nicholson and Hannah Goudie-Hunter, Ruth Mary Johnson and Jeremy Bradfield. Loosely set against the backdrop of the 1969 moon landings, the show is an out-of-this-world tale about self-belief and overcoming adversity, packed with songs, live music and magical puppets and sound effects.

The Albany and ARC use this innovative commissioning approach to invite two companies to make new Christmas shows with their audiences specifically in mind. One company will be scheduled to perform their work in Stockton in 2021 before heading to Deptford in 2022, while the other will visit the Albany and then ARC.

This partnership has now successfully brought a number of seasonal productions to both venues including Pinocchio, The Ugly Duckling, The Man Who Wanted To Be A Penguin, and Humbug The Hedgehog, which have been enjoyed by audiences from schools, community groups, and local families numbering in the tens of thousands.

Annabel Turpin, Artistic Director at ARC said:

‘These commissions have been a brilliant opportunity for us to look ahead as we think about the kind of work we want to share with our family audiences in the future. It’s fantastic to award this opportunity to two North based companies, and to be able to build on our existing relationships with them to create new work for our audiences.’

Gavin Barlow, Artistic Director at the Albany said:

‘We have been co-commissioning Christmas shows with ARC for a number of years now, and we always look forward to seeing companies bringing shows designed specifically for our audiences to life. Kitchen Zoo and Wrongsemble have a record of creating work that excites and engages audiences, and have certainly captured our imaginations with their proposals for our 2021 and 2022 commissions.’

Kitchen Zoo said:

‘Spluttering Spacedust, we can’t believe it! We are over the moon to have this great opportunity and the chance to grow and develop as a company. We are thrilled to be returning to work with ARC and we can’t wait to develop a new relationship with Albany and their audience. We are really pleased to be returning to outer space with The Tin Foil Astronaut and the characters that meant so much to us and our audiences. We will be returning to space and remaking the show on a grander scale, exploring the possibilities of a larger cast, a new venue and bigger audiences. Bob says he is most looking forward to being The Man in the Moon and guiding Alba Dinkley and the audience on a cosmic adventure and Hannah says she can’t wait to build an even bigger and better rocket and Blast Off!’

Wrongsemble said:

‘We are delighted to have been awarded this exciting commission to create a brand new festive production of The Snow Queen – which we will reimagine for modern family audiences. In this climate of huge uncertainty, it feels an incredible privilege to be able to plan something so hopeful for the future. We can’t wait to work with the communities of ARC and the Albany as we create this show, which places young voices at the heart of its story – at a time when it feels more crucial than ever that these voices are heard.’

Both Kitchen Zoo and Wrongsemble will be exploring how they can work with their young audiences in the development of their shows, through workshops or other engagement activity, giving those audiences the opportunity to influence the work they will eventually see on stage.

The Snow Queen and The Tin Foil Astronaut are currently scheduled for December 2021 and 2022, with full details still to be confirmed. The full schedules for both these shows will be available via the Albany and ARC website’s closer to the time.