Since finishing the research and development process in February this year, myself and The Knotted Project’s Natalie and Simon worked really hard to ensure this show had a future! When we were awarded further funding from Arts Council England and gained support from lots of exciting partners, it was official.. The Chit Chat Chalk Show was back! It was back, but this time we had bigger and better plans for the show…

Over Summer we began to develop the shows narrative, storyline, characters and overall journey. We spent a few days in residence at The Dukes Theatre in Lancaster where we plotted and planned about how we could enhance the story. It’s safe to say that we were very excited already and dying to get back into the studio. We held an audition in August to recruit a new performer to join our team and from there we welcomed the lovely (and very talented) Alice Shepperson to our team.

We began the development process during a 2 week residency at The University of Salford in mid September. Alice and Zoe joined myself, Natalie and Simon in the studio and we began Day 1 by reading through the new, shiny script for The Chit Chat Chalk Show. With the addition of new characters, scenes and a lots of new ideas we set to work! Every day begins with a physical warm up, a vocal warm up and lots of games – we love to be playful and think it’s really important to get us in the right mood for Kiko’s magical world.

Chaos hit the studio as more and more set and props began to arrive! Katie Scott, Set & Costume designer, kept bringing more and more set in the room and little by little Kiko’s world came to life. This time we have more ’tiles’ (foam squares) so we spent hours building and playing amongst them. Richard Smithson returns to the process as Composer of our original sound score. Paying attention to detail, sound and movement now go hand in hand creating even more magical moments.

Then comes the chalk… We have more chalk than ever! So what next… We headed out on our Autumn Schools tour in Cumbria. At the end of September, we travelled up to the beautiful Lake District where we visited 3 primary schools and 1 college. Testing and previewing the work to groups of excited school children was so much fun. The thing we were missing in the studio was the children and once we had them involved the show began to really come alive with new energy. After an exhausting (but very successful!) few days, we returned to Manchester and look ahead to the coming months.

We’re busy preparing for the first performance of ‘The Chit Chat Chalk Show’. We’ll perform the work at York Theatre Royal as part of Take Over Festival on 28th October at 11am. Tickets are available now so please do come and join the fun!

We’re very close to announcing our Spring 2018 tour and we hope that you’ll be able to catch the work as it tours nationally for the first time.

-Josh Hawkins (Director)

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