Small group on big stage

ONE of Suffolk's newest theatre groups is today preparing to make their debut performance on the same bill as one of the most prestigious performance groups in the country.

ONE of Suffolk's newest theatre groups is today preparing to make their debut performance on the same bill as one of the most prestigious performance groups in the country.

The group, called Laughing Lizard Productions, has been formed by Louise Graham, who has just finished studying for a degree in performing arts at Suffolk College.

Despite having only been together for a short time, Laughing Lizard have managed to secure their first public performance at the Latitude Festival in Henham next weekend, and their performance will follow one by the famous Royal Court Theatre.

With six members, Laughing Lizard is made up of fellow recent graduates like Louise and some other students who are still studying at the college.

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Louise, 35, said she decided to form her own group when she discovered there were so few opportunities for recent graduates.

She said: “It's difficult to get people to take a chance on you, and I thought if I wasn't going to get a chance from other companies I'd take that chance myself and I also wanted to give other people from Suffolk College the opportunity to perform.”

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After hearing about the Latitude Festival, Louise decided to try and arrange for the group to perform there four times over the weekend.

“I did a bit of searching around and found the person who was booking acts and kept asking and asking and managed to get us booked. It was fantastic when I heard, we are all so excited now.”

Laughing Lizard will be performing a set of short pieces called Rhyme of the Times that Louise has written based on children's nursery rhymes.

“We've taken nursery rhymes and put a modern twist on them,” she said.

“We're using a Jerry Springer style, so there is Humpty Dumpty and he is seeking compensation for his injuries, it's a look at compensation culture now and how everybody sues all the time.”

Another is called Little Red Riding Hoodie and sees how the traditional character has now grown up, is terrorising the neighbours, and dating the wolf who ate her granny.

And while Louise and the rest of the group are excited about being booked, she admits the thought of going on stage straight after the Royal Court has created some nerves.

“Two of the slots we've got are following the Royal Court and one of the things they are doing has been directed by Sir Trevor Nunn, so that's a bit scary. It feels a bit like following Mariah Carey in a karaoke competition!”

The Latitude Festival will be held in Henham Park near Southwold on July 14, 15 and 16. Laughing Lizard will be performing in the theatre tent at 4.30pm and 8.15pm on Friday, 8.40pm on Saturday and 7.20pm on Sunday.

Did You Know?

THE Royal Court theatre is this year celebrating it's 50 year anniversary and will be putting on an exclusive production for Latitude. Called Angry Now, the production is the result of a project that saw the Royal Court ask 50 British theatres and theatre companies to nominate an emerging writer. Those writers were then approached to write short plays about what makes them angry. The result is Angry Now and the themes in the plays range from child poverty to dodgy drivers.


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