New Wolsey show Kite tackles difficult issue of grief

The Wrong Crowd present Kite at Ipswich's New Wolsey Theatre.
Photo: Richard Davenport

The Wrong Crowd present Kite at Ipswich's New Wolsey Theatre. Photo: Richard Davenport - Credit: Richard Davenport

A lonely girl moves to her grandma’s airless London flat in London, where the windows are shut tight and memories of seagulls and sand dunes begin to fade in the silence. One night a hand-made kite comes to life and heralds the start of a wild adventure and the chance to find what it seemed was lost forever.

Kite - by The Wrong Crowd in association with Soho Theatre - is a wordless exploration of grief, family and imagination. It opened to acclaim at the the Soho Theatre as part of the London International Mime Festival. It’s inspired by stories like The Snowman and The Red Balloon.

“Unlike our previous shows we wanted to start from a visual idea rather than a pre-existing story. I came across indoor kites and immediately wanted to make a kite a character in our next show. So much personality reveals itself when the kite’s in flight. Sometimes it’s mischievous and often it’s deeply moving,” says Rachael Canning, director and designer of Kite and co-director of The Wrong Crowd.

“The kite felt like a Mary Poppins type benevolent force, needing to hep someone somehow. So we created a story whereby a kite comes to life to help a young girl who has recently lost her mum come to terms with her grief. It’s our first play without words, which suits us well as visual theatre makers.”

The Wrong Crowd make visually-inventive, storytelling theatre that fuses puppetry, live action, physicality, music and song.

Bonnie Mitchell, co-director of The Wrong Crowd and producer of Kite, says the company has always wanted to make work that powerfully speaks to both young audiences and adults. Whether they come to the theatre as a family or just wind up sat next to someone in the audience of a different generation, she says something brilliant happens when cross-generational audience experience a piece of theatre that resonates with them both.

“We believe the theatre is absolutely the right place to be tackling serious and difficult issues especially for cross-generational audiences and in particular about issues like bereavement that affect so many people but often isn’t spoken about or it’s felt like it’s something people need to experience in isolation and in silence.

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“It’s something we have all experienced in our own lives and realize it’s going to resonate with young people and with older people. Like with all of our work, we’ve had the young and the older in our minds as we’ve made the piece. It’s so important not to dumb things down and make the work accessible and relatable. The feedback so far is that it’s emotional and yes sad, but that there’s also a lot of light and joy in the show.”

Kite is at Ipswich’s New Wolsey Theatre from March 29-30.

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