Yesterday we made some exciting announcements about our debut play, Pangolin, including our partnership with Born Free and the launch of our Crowdfunder. Today director, Sheryl Hill fills us in on how these things came about.
Creating Pangolin, in its very first guise, was the result of a very lively chat with Sally Bromley, Principal of The College of Richard Collyer a sixth form based in West Sussex. Sally was searching for a director who could bring an idea to the table for a student-led community theatre production, to perform within, and benefit, the local residents of Horsham. It was the word ‘community’ that excited me.
Prior to meeting Sally, I had read more and more into the global illegal wildlife trade and, in doing so, had discovered the pangolin and its plight for myself. That conversation, with Sally, for me meant more than just ‘local’ community; it also got me thinking about our roles within our global community. This felt even more tantalising as sixth form students are at that significant moment in their life, that transition from childhood to legally being recognised as an adult, the moment they fully start to make their own way into the world. Working with the students to make a show which has this at its heart was such an exciting opportunity; something which I often felt was recognised by all of us working on the show during that process. The gusto and passion those students displayed throughout our term working together still gives me goosebumps as I sit here now writing this, almost nine months later.
The wonderful partnership between Born Free and Pangolin the play was established after I invited the Born Free team, just up the road from their offices in Horsham, to watch a performance. I wanted them to see this gorgeous play with the biggest heart, which asks audiences to take a positive stand for all of the fellow creatures with whom we share this planet, and the efforts of the students who had poured their heart and soul into realising it onto the stage.
Born Free do fantastic work to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect. Amongst the work they do to support conservation and protect threatened species they are working to reverse the fortunes of the pangolin and ensure the survival of this incredible animal for many years to come. So it felt like a great fit for the project.
Afterwards, we were delighted to meet the team members from Born Free and hear their hugely positive responses to the work and as they say, the rest is history! We all quickly strove to get a meeting in the diary to discuss the potential of working together on this production, driven by that shared ambition of raising as much awareness as possible about the pangolin and elevating its status to the same of that as elephants, rhinos, tigers (to name a few!) within the public consciousness.
Having the expertise of Born Free on board is a hugely exciting prospect and we are looking forward to working with the team over the course of the next year and immersing ourselves in all things pangolin, and them in return – all things theatre!