Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon spoke to Spun Glass Theatre’s Jessica Cheetham about Princess Charming, touring the UK from September.
Hi Jessica, thank you so much for talking to me. Could you explain a little more about what to expect from Princess Charming?
No problem! Princess Charming is a fun show for families which blends together cabaret and theatre to go on a journey through song, dance and even some acrobatics! The show is fast-paced with about 20 different cabaret skits so it’s really engaging to watch. A cabaret-style atmosphere is created with children and adults encouraged to heckle and take part so it’s really engaging.
How does the show deal with gender identity and stereotypes?
All the acts in Princess Charming look at aspects of what it means to be a boy and what it means to be a girl. We created them by working with children so each scene represents something that is important to children today, whether that’s being allowed to be silly and messy as a girl, or how being a boy means it’s difficult to cry and express yourself that way. The performers present lots of different ideas about how stereotypes put pressure on girls and boys to act a certain way and how that might make us feel.
How would you describe the show?
Glittery! We really do bring families into a cabaret club atmosphere. It’s also very funny and entertaining with some more reflective acts that really hit home with the truth of how stereotypes can hold everyone back.
What do you think or hope younger audience members will take away from Princess Charming?
I hope that younger audiences will firstly feel inspired and entertained by the show; we have worked hard to create something that is relevant and packed with different performance styles. Maybe someone will be inspired to learn to sing or dance having seen the show. I also hope that we get families talking to one another about gender stereotypes and how they impact their lives.
It could be that a child who doesn’t feel they fit their particular stereotype sees the show and feels empowered to talk to the adults around them about what they like to do, wear or play with. It might be that a boy or girl who feels comfortable with the stereotypes will understand more about gender difference and maybe be more accepting of their friends and classmates who like different things.
How much of a part do you think that gender stereotypes still plays in the way children think of themselves? I think that stereotypes cover so many different aspects of children’s lives and the first things that spring to mind are the pink/blue divide and what children might wear. However, what Spun Glass Theatre is really concerned with is how these stereotypes affect behaviour; if a boy is naturally more sensitive or a girl naturally more assertive, a continual admonishment from adults can chip away at their confidence.
How excited are you about seeing the show come to life in front of audiences? Very excited! We have some rehearsal time at Poplar Union and it’s always really exciting to see new ideas come to life. We are also visiting a lot of theatres and cities for the first time on our tour so really looking forward to meeting people in all those places. Princess Charming is a delight to perform and it will be great to see the reactions of kids all through the tour!
By Emma Clarendon
Princess Charming will tour the UK from the 19th September until the 4th November. For more information visit: https://www.spunglasstheatre.com/productions.html