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Press Release: New children's dance theatre, Varmints, Lilian Baylis Studio, 17 - 18 May

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Sally Cookson and Wilkie Branson


Lilian Baylis Studio

Friday 17 & Saturday 18 May
Tickets: £7 - £12
Ticket Office 0844 412 4300   www.sadlerswells.com


Varmints is the brand new children’s dance theatre production, which tells the poignant story of a woodland creature’s struggle to preserve a world in danger of being lost to the ever expanding city.


Inspired by the award-winning book by Helen Ward with illustrations by Marc Craste, the show is choreographed by and also stars B-boy and Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate Wilkie Branson and is directed by children’s theatre specialist and 2013 Olivier Award nominee Sally Cookson. Varmints is Branson and Cookson’s second artistic collaboration, their first being the hugely popular Christmas production BOING! which returns to the Lilian Baylis Studio by popular demand for a third time this December.


Wilkie Branson works as an interdisciplinary artist who is self taught in both dance and film, with the roots of his practice based in B-Boying and hip hop.  Wilkie’s dance style has developed into what has been described as a unique fusion, with core values of expression, accessibility and integrity at the heart of the practice.  His most recent works, White Caps and Stronger are currently touring internationally in Europe, North America and Asia. Awarded the Arts Foundation Choreographic Fellowship 2012, Wilkie is also a member of the Sadler’s Wells Summer University.


Sally Cookson is a freelance director specialising in Children’s theatre.  As an associate artist of Bristol Old Vic her productions have included Peter Pan, Treasure Island, Aesop’s Fables, Pains of Youth, Pericles and The Visit.  Sally’s ongoing collaboration with Travelling Light Theatre has resulted in her directing over ten productions for the company, including Boing!, Cloudland, Bob the Man on the Moon, How Cold My Toes, Shadow Play, Clown, Lenny, Home and Papa Please Get the Moon for Me. In addition to her work as a director, Sally’s credits as an actress include work at the Royal National Theatre, Almeida, Young Vic, Gielgud Theatre and
repertory theatres nationwide.  Most recently Sally’s production of Cinderella for the Tobacco Factory Theatre was nominated for the 2013 Olivier Awards for Best Entertainment and Family Production.


Co-producedand commissioned by East London Dance, Sadler’s Wells and Stratford Circus, Varmints comes to the Lilian Baylis Studio as part of a tour produced by Travelling Light Theatre Company. Based in Bristol, Travelling Light has been creating theatre for young audiences since 1984, and is now highly regarded locally, nationally and internationally for producing innovative theatre.


Age Guidance: 8+


Free post-show discussion for ticket holders (BSL): Saturday 18 May at 2.30pm.  Post show discussion led by Nicolette Jones, Children’s Books Editor of The Sunday Times.


A Sadler’s Wells Co-production


Varmints is based on the book by Helen Ward and Marc Craste, with kind permission of Templar Publishing.

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