To coincide with the launch of our fundraising campaign, we decided to grab a cup of tea with director ‘Sheryl Hill,’ and sit down to find out about the inspiration behind the new play Pangolin, by writer Jon Boustead.
Sheryl, first of all, what actually is a pangolin?!
A pangolin is an animal. It’s often referred to as looking like a scaly anteater and that’s because it’s the only mammal in the world which has scales. They’re these incredible looking creatures and one of the things I find most fascinating about them is when pangolins roll up into a ball to defend themselves that the scales are so tough that even creatures like lions can’t bite through them.
Sadly, their scales are also one of the reasons that the pangolin is the world’s most trafficked mammal, with the species being poached at an alarming rate.
How did you find out about pangolins?
I’ve always loved animals and for most of my childhood I wanted to be a vet. As I got older I realised how squeamish I am and subsequently decided to pursue a different career path! In recent years I’ve started researching more and more into the illegal wildlife trade and that was how I came across the pangolin and its plight.
One of the most striking bits of research I found was a statistic which estimated that over the last ten years about eleven thousand rhinos, one thousand tigers and about one million pangolins have been killed. That’s one of the things which really captured my interest; the severity of what is happening to this animal, but in comparison to more iconic species it’s just so hardly known.
That very much sowed the seed of wanting to create a theatre production about this creature; to tell its story and to raise awareness.