This POPOUT FESTIVAL we’re hosting a brilliant new kids show Really Big and Really Loud by Phoebe Eclair-Powell in Paines Plough’s Roundabout from 7-10 October 2021. We spoke to Phoebe about how she created the world of the play and what it’s like writing a show for younger audiences.
“To have my own show in Roundabout is a real dream come true. It is an amazing venue, but full of challenges as a writer! You’ve got an in-the-round-space with very few exits and entrances, there’s nowhere for the actors to hide. Also, you need to think about touring audiences, about the fact that the jokes need to work for every location and can’t be too site specific.
I’d worked with Charlotte Bennett (one of the joint-Artistic Directors of Paines Plough) before, and I think she thought that my sense of humour would fit the family show. She very kindly invited me to work on the show which was meant to be on in 2020 and is obviously only able to be on the road in 2021. So, it’s been a couple years in discussion and in the making!
The inspiration for the play came from seeing a little girl in my head called Charlie; she was worried about lots of things but had a really big and really loud personality and it all tumbled out from there. Working with Paines Plough’s other amazing joint Artistic Director Katie Posner also really helped. She had tonnes of ideas and has a little girl called Heidi who’s grown up loads since we started working on the play and she also really, really inspired me. Her vitality and vibrancy really went into this show.
We knew we wanted to make a show about protest, but the piece really changed because of COVID. We had to really reinvigorate and re-look at the play and what it’s all about. As the title suggests, the main theme of the show is our voice! Our truth, what we are saying, and the way we communicate. It’s about listening and trying to figure out what we are all really trying to say deep down. I think it’s also about how we hide behind either volume or silence. It’s about how we use our voices really.
Charli is someone who uses her voice in good ways and bad ways and learns what it is to be really honest with yourself. It’s about how we’re all a bit insecure but realising that everyone is going through the same thing once we are honest and share our experiences with each other. I think it’s about enjoying all of the things that make you unique but also sharing with those around you; sharing is caring! But predominantly it’s about voice.
I think COVID has been really tough, especially on children, and though they adapt so quickly they have had a rough old time along with the rest of us, so I just wanted them to have a lot of fun with this show and to be really loud and to shout and feel a sense of freedom and escapism.
I hope they take away a big sense of fun! I hope that the songs are catchy and that they sing them on the way home. I hope they feel they’ve been taken along on the adventure with Charli and her friends. I also hope they feel inspired to talk about communication, voice, fears and how we treat each other. I just hope it will be a joyful, entertaining hour that can take them out of what is happening at the moment and give them a sense of energy, honesty and integrity.”
THE GUARDIAN’s 4 Star review described Really Big and Really Loud as a “FIZZY CHILDREN’S SHOW WITH A WILD TWIST.” You can read the full review here