One of the country’s leading TV, film and theatre writers is bringing his own theatre company’s new show to Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF) on Friday 2 and Saturday 3 August.
Oliver Lansley’s Les Enfants Terribles Theatre Company will be performing ‘Imaginary Menagerie’, a darkly humorous show based loosely on Aesop’s fables, on Stockton’s High Street. The performance will be packed with old-fashioned Vaudeville, circus tricks, puppets, music and magic.
As well as writing, Oliver has a wide-ranging acting career ranging from portraying Kenny Everett in his life story to a role in the hit TV drama Sherlock as well as performing in popular shows such as EastEnders and HolbyCity.
He said: “We were very excited to be part of the Without Walls project and we’ve had so much fun living out our dreams of being proper old school travelling players. One of our shows that we’re probably most known for is called ‘The Terrible Infants’ – which is a stage show but features a band of ragtag travelling performers. I suppose the Imaginary Menagerie is sort of that show’s love child with a few dashes of some of our other shows along the way.
“We bought a giant horsebox and transformed it into this wonderful pop up theatre and are loving the experience of being able to travel from town to town, set up and share our tall tales and elaborate visuals. We’ve thrown everything at it, music, puppetry, exploding toads, dancing bears – there’s snow, physical theatre, killer bees – it’s so much fun. The project has been a real joy to work on and we hope it can just stay on the road as long as possible!”
Councillor Ken Dixon, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, which organises and funds SIRF, said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Les Enfants Terribles to SIRF. I am sure the visitors will be amazed at their extraordinary storytelling abilities and thoroughly enjoy the show. It also promises to be a great modern-day tribute to Stockton’s tradition of welcoming a travelling circus to town.”
This is the first time Oliver’s company has performed at SIRF and the show is supported by an initiative called Without Walls (UK) which supports new outdoor work by UK artists and companies. There are a further eight shows being performed at the festival, through this consortium’s support, by Inspector Sands, the Mercurial Wrestler, Oxford Contemporary Music, Motionhouse, Tilted Productions, PifPaf and Rag and Bone.