Celebrating 30 years
Read our stories from 30 years of make believing here.
A BRIEF HISTORY
1984: Travelling Light is founded by Kim Reuter and Jinny Paige. DOWN AT THE DUMP is their first show
1991: STREETWISE performs at an international festival in Poland, followed by a tour of 5 Polish cities
1995: Our most toured show, TIR NA N'OG is created and is shown at the Take Off Festival. It subsequently tours 8 times all over the world and is retitled INTO THE WEST for a mid-scale tour in 1999 and 2015.
2001: Our first youth theatre groups are started in Barton Hill with support from Community at Heart
2002: WALKING THE TIGHTROPE by Mike Kenny performs at Phladelphia International Children's Festival, and represents the UK at the ASSITEJ 14th World Congress in Seoul
2003: CLOUDLAND is our first successful play for young children and is so popular its tour is extended twice
2004: CLOWN is our first co-production with Bristol Old Vic, and our first piece of wordless theatre for young children
2007: THE UGLY DUCKLING is our first co-production with the Tobacco Factory Theatres, and our first family Christmas show
2008: We create SHADOW PLAY, our first piece of abstract, non-verbal theatre for very young children
2009: We create our first dance theatre piece HOW COLD MY TOES with Champloo Dance Company
2010: BOING! premieres at Bristol Old Vic; it is remounted several times in forthcoming years, including tours to China and New York in 2017 & 2018.
2011: Our Young Critics programme is launched, and we create CINDERELLA: A FAIRYTALE with Tobacco Factory Theatres, which is remounted for London runs for the next 2 Christmases, plus tours to Birmingham in 2015 and back to its Bristol home in 2016.
2012: PARALLELS is our first short film, made with our 7-10 Youth Theatre for a part of our Summer Showcase at Arnolfini.
2013: VITA is our first production as part of The Buzz, made entirely by young people with the support of professional mentors. Both BOING! and WHITE CAPS are invited to showcase at British Dance Edition. VARMINTS is our first dance collaboration with Sadler's Wells, East London Dance and Stratford Circus
2014: We celebrate our 30th anniversary with a free family arts festival in Barton Hill - 30Fest. Our Christmas co-production 101 DALMATIANS with Tobacco Factory Theatre’s breaks box office records and has rave reviews from press and audience alike.
2015: We create SNOW MOUSE, our first co-production with the egg theatre, Bath. Our youth theatre's co-production with the Bristol Old Vic, A THOUSAND SEASONS PAST, is a site specific historical drama piece telling the stories of inhabitants of the Old Bristol Goal at Wapping Wharf. We take our first show to Edinburgh Fringe Festival, STRICTLY BALTI.
2016: We embark on our first Libraries tour with THE MYSTERIOUS VANISHMENT OF POBBY & DINGAN.
2017: We produce BARTON HILL FESTIVAL, a celebration of our local community developed through community consultation, with over 23 local organisations taking part. We secure 3 year funding from the Youth Investment Fund, to develop our young people's programme and launch new projects ACTIONSPEAK and OUTREACH.
2018: We create IGLOO, a sensory experience for the very young, 0-3 years, as a co-production with Bristol Old Vic. Together we create a vibrant, welcoming space where every child gets a front row seat in Bristol Old Vic's Cooper's Loft.
2019: We launch our ambitious YES LET'S APPEAL to invest in creative childhoods and transform children’s lives in Barton Hill, Bristol and beyond. We put everything into the appeal and so do our supporters - from marathons to family races, ‘danceathons’ to dinner parties, direct donations to film screenings and picnics, the appeal is full of joy and energy. The appeal raises £32,000 – and all donations are matched £1 for £1 by Arts Council England, taking our total for the campaign to £64,000. And after 9 years of delighting audiences from the West End to New York and Beijing, our award-winning show BOING! returns home to Bristol Old Vic at Christmas, running from 29 Nov 2019 - 5 Jan 2020.
2020: Following the success of IGLOO at Bristol Old Vic in 2018, we remount the show in 2020 with a new cast, and embark on a national tour, performing at venues and community spaces around the country. At Christmas 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, we created an illustrated storybook based on Igloo to distribute to children and families in Bristol as a free gift.
2021: Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was not possible to reach young people with our stories in traditional ways. In response, we created an exciting new digital story and free resource for primary schools to use in their classrooms - 17 & the Squeak Gobbler. Inspired by lockdown, three short films introduced two characters (played by Felix Hayes and John Pfumojena) and an age-old tale about finding common ground in an uncertain world. 17 and the Squeak Gobbler reached approximately 28,000 school children around the country.
Awards & Honours
1998: Nomination for TIR NA N'OG - best show for children & young people (Barclays / TMA Awards)
1999: Samuel Beckett award for INTO THE WEST - best children's production (Dublin International Theatre Festival)
2005: Association of International Theatre Critics award for CLOWN - best acting (Bucharest International Children's Theatre Festival)
2013: Nomination for CINDERELLA: A FAIRYTALE - best entertainment and family (Olivier Awards)
2013: Cath Greig MBE (employee 1997 - 2014) - for services to theatre for young people in Bristol (New Year's Honours List)
2013: Jude Merrill MBE (employee 1987 - 2017) - for services to theatre for children (Queen's Birthday Honours List)
2014: Offie award for CINDERELLA: A FAIRYTALE - best production for young people (Off West End Awards)
2016: BOING! wins the Offie award for best production for young people (0-7)
2017: Outgoing Artistic Producer Jude Merrill wins the Action for Children's Arts Members Award in recognition of her contribution to Theatre for Young Audiences.
AND THE STORY CONTINUES . . .
The Pink Panther
Our original pink van